The asteroid in the sky
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Extraordinary 24 hours for astronomers

An asteroid as large as an Olympic swimming pool has raced past the Earth at a distance of just 27,700km (17,200mi) - the closest ever predicted for an object of that size.

It passed far closer than the geosynchronous satellites that orbit the Earth, but there was no risk of impacts or collisions.

The asteroid's arrival was preceded by a damaging meteor event in Russia on Friday.

But the meteor's path suggested the two events were entirely unrelated - just a "cosmic coincidence", as Alan Fitzsimmons of Queens University Belfast told BBC News.

Beth McLeod reports.

  • 16 Feb 2013