The largest asteroid to pass by Earth this year is passing by our planet today, and the US space agency NASA says there is no threat of a collision.

The asteroid – called 2001 FO32 – will make its journey from two million kilometres away from earth, NASA said.

It is roughly 5.25 times the distance of the Earth from the Moon but still close enough for 2001 FO32 to be classified as a “potentially hazardous asteroid.”

NASA says the asteroid will give astronomers a rare chance for a good look at a space rock that formed at the dawn of our solar system.

“We know the orbital path of 2001 FO32 around the Sun very accurately,” said Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies.

NASA says 2001 FO32 will pass by at about 124,000 kilometres per hour –faster than the speed at which most asteroids encounter Earth.

The asteroid is estimated to be about 900 metres in diameter and was discovered 20 years ago.

The asteroid will be at its closest to Earth at around 1600 GMT on Sunday, according to the Paris Observatory, France’s largest astronomy research centre.

The asteroid will be brightest while it moves through southern skies, Chodas said.

NASA said more than 95 percent of near-Earth asteroids the size of 2001 FO32 or larger have been catalogued and none of them has any chance of impacting our planet over the next century.

NASA says the next time 2001 FO32 will be close to Earth will be 2052.

Sixty-six million years ago an asteroid roughly twice the diameter as Paris crashed into Earth and wiped out 75 percent of life on the planet.


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