3-mile-wide 3200 Phaethon asteroid named after a Greek god who almost destroyed Earth will brush 'quite close' to our planet next month

Mail Online | 11/23/2017 | Harry Pettit For Mailonline
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A 3-mile (5 km) wide asteroid named 3200 Phaethon will brush past Earth just before Christmas.

The huge object is named after the Greek demi-god Phaethon, who according to legend almost destroyed Earth.

Earth - December - Astronomers

It will brush 'quite close' with Earth on December 17, Russian astronomers have shown.

Experts at the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University in Konigsberg, Russia, have published a video that tracks the path of Phaethon.

Object - Nasa - Asteroid - Miles - Km

The object, which Nasa has previously described as a 'potentially hazardous asteroid', will pass 6.4 million miles (10.3m km) from Earth - relatively close in space terms.

At 3 miles (5 km) wide, the asteroid is roughly half the size of Chicxulub, the rock that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Orbit - Sun - Asteroid

Its unusual orbit will see it pass closer to the sun than any other named asteroid.

3200 Phaethon has puzzled scientists because it has features of both an asteroid and a comet.

Encounters - Earth - Scientists - Streaming - Space

In one of its previous close encounters with Earth, scientists spotted dust streaming from the space rock that resembles the melting ice tails seen tailing most comets.

But Phaethon’s orbit puts its origins in a region between Mars and Jupiter where asteroids commonly originate.

Icy

Typically, icy...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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