YU55 – Closer than the moon on Tuesday/Wednesday

Photo credit :NASA's Deep Space Network in Goldstone, Calif.
Photo credit :NASA's Deep Space Network in Goldstone, Calif.

An asteroid about the size of an aircraft carrier was hurtling toward us Monday night, following an orbit that will take it within 201,700 miles of Earth, as measured from the center of the planet.

As has been much reported, that’s closer to us than the moon is.

Scientists at NASA have been tracking the asteroid, named YU55, on a daily basis since Friday. On Monday, at 11:45 a.m. Pacific, they took the above picture of the asteroid using a 70-meter radio telescope.

The photo, shot from NASA’s Deep Space Network in Goldstone, Calif., might be a little more exciting if it were a bit less pixelated. But we can forgive the fuzziness, after all, the asteroid was at 3.6 lunar distances, which is about 860,000 miles, from Earth when the image was taken.