3-mile-wide 'potentially hazardous' asteroid will make its closest pass by Earth in over 40 years on December 16, Nasa confirms
Nasa has confirmed that an enormous asteroid will brush past Earth on December 16. The asteroid, called 3200 Phaethon, measures three miles (five kilometres) in diameter, and is classed as 'potentially hazardous'
In a statement about the asteroid, a spokesperson for Nasa said: 'With a diameter of about 5 km, Phaethon is the third largest near-Earth asteroid classified as "Potentially Hazardous".'
Nasa expects Phaethon to make its closest pass to Earth on December 16, during which time the space agency hopes to take detailed images of the asteroid.
The Nasa spokesperson said: 'Phaethon will approach within 0.069 AU of Earth on 2017 December 16 when it will be a strong radar imaging target at Goldstone and Arecibo.
'This will be the best opportunity to date for radar observations of this asteroid and we hope to obtain detailed images.
'The images should be excellent for obtaining a detailed 3D model.'
The next pass is predicted to be in 2093.