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Massive asteroid to pass close by Earth on September 1, says NASA

By Madhuri

A 3-mile big asteroid Florence will pass safely by earth on September 1, at a distance of about of 4.4 million miles, NASA has said. The Florence is one of the largest near-Earth objects currently being tracked by NASA.

NASA: Big asteroid to pass safely

Asteroid Florence is one of the largest near-Earth asteroids that are several miles is size. According to the measurements from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and NEOWISE mission indicate that the asteroid is about 4.4 kilometres in size.

Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) said,"While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will on September 1, all of those were estimated to be smaller."

Chodas further added,"Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA programme to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began.''

However, this close encounter of Florence is expected to be an n excellent target for ground-based radar observations. It will relatively provide an opportunity for scientists to study this asteroid up close.

The resulting radar images will show the real size of Florence and also could reveal surface details as small as about 10 metres.

Asteroid Florence was first discovered in March 1981 by Schelte Bus at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. It is named in honour of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

This year's encounter is the closest by the asteroid since 1890 and the closest it will ever be until after 2500, according to the US space agency.

Florence will brighten to ninth magnitude in late August and early September, when it will be visible in small telescopes for several nights as it moves through the constellations Piscis Austrinus, Capricornus, Aquarius and Delphinus.

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