A Giant Skull-Faced Asteroid Is Coming Back to Earth
A huge, skull-shaped asteroid is once more hurtling towards Earth.
Don’t worry though - it won’t make impact.
Named 2015 TB145 after the year it first flew by our planet, the asteroid came to the attention of scientists because of how close it had come to Earth, as well as its skull-like shape.
It flew by us on 31 October 2015, ironically on Halloween, and is a fairly formidable size - between 620 and 700 metres in diameter.
In 2015 it had come approximately 300,000 miles close to Earth, which is only just further away than the moon.
However when the asteroid flies towards us again in November 2018, it will actually be further away - some 105 times the average lunar distance.
Teams of astronomers are looking forward to its return so they can observe its characteristics and add to their knowledge about asteroids.
One of them, Pablo Santos-Sanz from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia has even managed to find out how long a day is on the asteroid, which rotates on its own axis.
He told Sinc:
"From the observations from Spain, we discovered that this object’s most likely rotation period is 2.94 hours, in other words, this is the approximate length of its day, although we cannot rule out another possibility: 4.78 hours, another solution which is consistent with our optical data."
Once it’s come around in 2018 it won’t be back for a long while - not until Halloween, 2088.