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Science + Astronomy
Explore some of the mysteries of the cosmos. These news articles deal with all things science and astronomy. Black holes, gamma ray bursts, supernovas etc.


Scientists Find a Black Hole 12 Billion Times More Massive Than the Sun
Science-Astronomy
February 26, 2015
It remains a mystery how black holes could have grown so huge in such short time
Scientists Find a Black Hole 12 Billion Times More Massive Than the Sun
Astronomers have discovered the largest and most luminous black hole ever seen — an ancient monster with a mass about 12 billion times that of the sun — that dates back to when the universe was less than 1 billion years old.

It remains a mystery how black holes could have grown so huge in such a relatively brief time after the dawn of the universe, researchers say.

Supermassive black holes are thought to lurk in the hearts of most, if not all, large galaxies. The largest black holes found so far in the nearby universe have masses more than 10 billion times that of the sun. In comparison, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way is thought to have a mass only 4 million to 5 million times that of the sun.

Read more

 
Health Ranger Apocalypse Warnings Three Years Later
Science-Astronomy
February 17, 2015
When I saw the news about a new report from Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute and the Global Challenges Foundation, it all seemed strangely familiar. The report, covered in the Financial Times and also the Daily Mail, offers a scientific assessment of the twelve most likely risks of a literal apocalypse across our planet.

“We were surprised to find that no one else had compiled a list of global risks with impacts that, for all practical purposes, can be called infinite,” co-author Dennis Pamlin of the Global Challenges Foundation told the Financial Times.

Actually, I compiled a list three years ago and published it on Natural News in this article from May 11, 2012.

I also created a detailed infographic in 2012 which outlined the greatest apocalyptic threats posed by runaway science. That infographic is shown below.

What’s interesting is that about half of the Oxford University scientists’ predictions overlap my own predictions from 2012. Technically, my list was focused on threats from runaway disastrous science and did not attempt to incorporate possible threats from all sectors (such as economic collapse or government collapse). If I had included economic and government sectors, there would have been even more overlap.

 
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Science-Astronomy
January 28, 2015

peak food 2015

The world has entered an era of “peak food” production with an array of staples from corn and rice to wheat and chicken slowing in growth – with potentially disastrous consequences for feeding the planet.

New research finds that the supply of 21 staples, such as eggs, meat, vegetables and soybeans is already beginning to run out of momentum, while the global population continues to soar.

Peak chicken was in 2006, while milk and wheat both peaked in 2004 and rice peaked way back in 1988, according to new research from Yale University, Michigan State University and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany.

What makes the report particularly alarming is that so many crucial sources of food have peaked in a relatively short period of history, the researchers said.

“People often talk of substitution. If we run out of one substance we just substitute another. But if multiple resources are running out, we’ve got a problem. Mankind needs to accept that renewable raw materials are reaching their yield limits worldwide,” said Jianguo “Jack” Liu, of Michigan State University.

“This is a strong reason for integration ... rather than searching for a one-for-one substitution to offset shortages,” he added.

 
Mysterious radio signal from space caught live for first time
Science-Astronomy
January 28, 2015
Cause of mysterious signals remains unknown, with possible theories ranging from black holes to alien communication...
Mysterious radio signal from space caught live for first time
Astronomers in Australia have picked up an “alien” radio signal from space for the first time as it occurred. The signal, or radio “burst”, was discovered on May 15, 2014, though it’s just being reported by the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“The burst was identified within 10 seconds of its occurrence,” said Emily Petroff, a doctoral student from Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology. “The importance of the discovery was recognized very quickly and we were all working very excitedly to contact other astronomers and telescopes around the world to look at the location of the burst.”

Emerging from an unknown source, these bursts are bright flashes of radio waves that emit as much energy in a few milliseconds as the sun does in 24 hours. “The first fast radio burst was discovered in 2007,” Petroff tells FoxNews.com, “and up until our discovery there were 8 more found in old or archival data.” While researchers use telescopes in Hawaii, India, Germany, Chile, California, and the California Islands to search for bursts, it is the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope in Eastern Australia that is the first to catch one as its happening.

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Strong geomagnetic storm hits earth
Science-Astronomy
January 07, 2015
Storm could trigger false alarms on security systems and cause problems with GPS systems
Strong geomagnetic storm hits earth
The Space Weather Prediction Center issued a warning for a large geomagnetic storm on Wednesday morning.

The NOAA organization said the primary areas that would be affected would be in the northern portion of the northern hemisphere.

Some of the storm’s potential effects were power system voltage irregularities, possible false alarms triggered on security systems, and problems with GPS systems.

The storm could also impact spacecraft and cause orientation problems in satellites.

Read more

 
Potentially dangerous asteroid to fly by Earth on January 26
Science-Astronomy
January 05, 2015
Rock expected to fly by at a distance of 1.2 million kilometers...
Potentially dangerous asteroid to fly by Earth on January 26


A potentially hazardous asteroid, at least 20 times the size of the Chelyabinsk meteorite, will approach the Earth on January 26. The rock is expected to fly by at a distance of 1.2 million kilometers.

The asteroid, named 2004 BL86 by scientists, is estimated to be between 440-1,000 meters in diameter. 1.2 million kilometers is approximately three times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.

According to astronomers, there is no threat of the object colliding with our planet. The Goldstone Observatory, located in California’s Mojave Desert, will observe the asteroid during its approach.

2004 BL86 was discovered on January 30, 2004, by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR), responsible for the majority of asteroid discoveries from 1998 until 2005, when it was overtaken by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS). As of mid-September 2011, LINEAR had detected some 231,082 new objects, of which at least 2,423 were near-Earth asteroids and 279 comets.

A space object is considered potentially dangerous if it crosses the Earth’s orbit at a distance of less than 0.05 AU (approximately 19.5 distances from the Earth to the Moon), and if its diameter exceeds 100-150 meters. Objects of this size are large enough to cause unprecedented destruction, or generate a mammoth tsunami in case they fall into the ocean.

When a meteorite burst above the city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013, the impact was estimated to be equivalent to 440-500 kilotons of TNT. But the Chelyabinsk meteorite was relatively small, about 17 meters in diameter. It disintegrated with a blast at an altitude of over 20 kilometers.

 LINK

 
‘Noah’s Ark’: Russia to build world first DNA databank of all living things
Science-Astronomy
December 29, 2014
Lab will cryogenically freeze and store various cellular materials
‘Noah’s Ark’: Russia to build world first DNA databank of all living things
Not quite the Biblical Noah’s Ark, but possibly the next best thing. Moscow State University has secured Russia’s largest-ever scientific grant to collect the DNA of every living and extinct creature for the world’s first database of its kind.

“I call the project ‘Noah’s Ark.’ It will involve the creation of a depository – a databank for the storing of every living thing on Earth, including not only living, but disappearing and extinct organisms. This is the challenge we have set for ourselves,” MSU rector Viktor Sadivnichy told journalists.

The gigantic ‘ark’, set to be completed by 2018, will be 430 sq km in size, built at one of the university’s central campuses.

“It will enable us to cryogenically freeze and store various cellular materials, which can then reproduce. It will also contain information systems. Not everything needs to be kept in a petri dish,” Sadivnichy added.

The university’s press office has confirmed that the resulting database will contain collected biomaterials from all of MSU’s branches, including the Botanical Garden, the Anthropological Museum, the Zoological Museum and others. All of the university’s departments will be involved in research and collation of materials. The program, which has received a record injection of 1 billion rubles (US$194 million), will promote participation by the university’s younger generation of scientists.

Sadovnichy also said that the bank will have a link-up to other such facilities at home, perhaps even abroad.

“If it’s realized, this will be a leap in Russian history as the first nation to create an actual Noah’s Ark of sorts,” the rector said.

Russia is of course not the first to attempt something of this general scale – the quest to preserve biological life forms is one everyone should be engaged in. Britain has done just that with its Frozen Ark project, its venture into preserving all endangered life forms, also the first of its kind. They say it’s “the animal equivalent of the ‘Millennium Seed Bank’,” a project that encompasses all of the world’s seeds.

 
Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind
Science-Astronomy
December 04, 2014
Stephen Hawking: "Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded"
Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind
Prof Stephen Hawking, one of Britain’s pre-eminent scientists, has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence.

He told the BBC: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

His warning came in response to a question about a revamp of the technology he uses to communicate, which involves a basic form of AI.

But others are less gloomy about AI’s prospects.

Read more

 
Look out! House-sized asteroid set to pass within 160,000km of Earth TODAY
Science-Astronomy
October 27, 2014
  • 15m wide space rock will pass at around 9:12pm UTC (4:12pm EST)
  • Asteroid was only discovered on Sunday 
  • Experts say there is no risk from flyby between Earth and the Moon
  • Asteroid will revisit Earth in 2018 

A house-sized asteroid has been spotted heading for Earth - and will pass just 160,000km from us today.

Called asteroid 2014 UFC56, it is around 15m wide - and was only spotted for the first time yesterday.

Experts say there is no risk from the flyby, which will happen at around 4:12pm EST.

The house-sized asteroid 2014 UF56 will pass between the Earth and the Moon.

The 15 meter wide space rock will miss our planet at a distance of about 160,000 km (0.4 lunar distances) at 9:12 p.m. UTC. 

The asteroid was discovered Saturday.

Despite passing so close to Earth, few if any of us will see the flyby - even with a telescope. 

Experts say it was no surprise the asteroid was not spotted until now. 

'With 90% of near-Earth asteroids larger than 0.6 miles (1 km) discovered, surveys are now focusing on finding 90% of objects larger than 460 feet (140-m),' amateur astronomer Bob King wroes on his blog

 

 
Blasting Stellar Fireball: Caught On Camera For The First Time
Science-Astronomy
October 27, 2014
"The stellar surface turns into one titanic hydrogen bomb throwing a fireball out into space"
Blasting Stellar Fireball: Caught On Camera For The First Time


Recently, the first time-lapse images of a thermonuclear fireball blasting out of a nova star have been captured by the astronomers.

An international team of researchers worked together to map the nova eruption, a baby brother to a supernova explosion. The study is published in the Nature journal.

Professor Peter Tuthill of the University of Sydney’s Institute for Astronomy stated that, “Although novae often play second fiddle in the popular imagination to their more famous big cousins – the supernovae – they are a truly remarkable celestial phenomenon.”

When a striking, compact star known as white dwarf shreds the matter from a nearby companion star with its intense gravitational field, Novae happen.

Read more

 
Huge Solar Flare Erupts from Biggest Sunspot in 24 Years
Science-Astronomy
October 25, 2014
"This is the fourth substantial flare from this active region since Oct. 19"
Huge Solar Flare Erupts from Biggest Sunspot in 24 Years


The biggest sunspot on the face of the sun in more than two decades unleashed a major flare on Friday (Oct. 24), the fourth intense solar storm from the active star in less than a week.

The solar flare occurred Friday afternoon, reaching its peak at 5:41 p.m. EDT (2141 GMT), and triggered a strong radio blackout at the time, according to the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center. NASA’s sun-watching Solar Dynamics Observatory captured stunning video of the huge solar flare.

The flare erupted from a giant active sunspot known as AR 12192 and was classified as an X3.1-class solar storm — one of the most powerful types of solar storms on the sun — but it is not the first time the sunspot has made its presence known. [Biggest Solar Flares of 2014 in Photos]

“This is the fourth substantial flare from this active region since Oct. 19,” NASA spokesperson Karen Fox wrote in a status update.

Read more

 
Monster Sunspot – Solar Flare: Oops, There Goes The 21st Century
Science-Astronomy
October 25, 2014

sunspot-ar-2192

>UPDATE (10/24, 21:30 GMT) A Strong X3+ Solar Flare Is Currently In Progress and it will be geoeffective because the sunspot is directly facing Earth.

(will update with further information as it develops)

 
LOTS OF SOLAR FLARES: Solar activity is high.

GIANT sunspot AR2192 has produced dozens of C-class solar flares, many M-class flares, and several X-flares (so far).

The most powerful solar flare eruption from this sunspot (so far) is apparently this one currently in progress (10/24) so far an X3+. Previously an X1.6-category blast on Oct 22nd knocked out some radio communication on Earth.

It may be the biggest sunspot group in 25 years.

FULL ARTICLE

 
Earth’s magnetic field ‘could flip in the space of 100 years’
Science-Astronomy
October 21, 2014
Earth’s magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than normal at present
earth magnetic field
Scientists predict that the Earth’s magnetic field can flip far faster than previously thought – unleashing a force which Mayan apocalypse believers thought might destroy our planet in 2012.

Berkeley scientists say that the Earth’s magnetic field can weaken and dip within just 100 years, before flipping so that compasses point south – an event they admit could wreck the entire world’s power grid and expose the world to deadly cosmic rays.

Earth’s magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than normal at present, leading geophysicists to predict a flip within a few thousand years – but Discovery news says that could understimate the speed of the change.

Authors such as Robert Felix claim that previous reversals have been associated with mass disruptions such as the extinction of Neanderthal man, and with supervolcano eruptions and other apocalyptic events.

The ‘flip’ occurs regularly, but there has not been a documented instance for 800,000 years.

 

Read more

 
Earth at risk after cuts close comet-spotting program, scientists warn
Science-Astronomy
October 21, 2014
Astronomers sound alarm after closure of the Australian early-warning program that spotted the Siding Spring comet
asteroid risk earth

The Earth has been left with a huge blind spot for potentially devastating comet strikes after the only dedicated comet-spotting program in the southern hemisphere lost its funding, leading astronomers have warned.

The program, which discovered the Siding Spring comet that narrowly missed Mars on Sunday, was shut down last year after losing funding.

“It’s a real worry,” Bradley Tucker, an astronomer at the Australian National University (ANU) and University of California Berkeley, told Guardian Australia.

“There could be something hurtling towards us right now and we wouldn’t know about it.”

The Siding Spring survey – named after the observatory near Coonabarabran in central New South Wales, where the Mars comet was first spotted – was the only program in the southern hemisphere actively searching for potentially hazardous comets, asteroids and meteors.

Celestial objects that pass within 7.4m kilometres of the earth, or which are more than 150 metres in diameter, are considered potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs). There are 1,508 known cases. The most famous asteroid to have struck the Earth landed in Mexico about 65m years ago, and is believed to have caused or contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

A 20-metre meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere undetected in 2013 and exploded spectacularly about 30km above Chelyabinsk in Russia, injuring 1,500 people.

“It’s essentially like a nuclear bomb going off in the atmosphere,” Tucker said. “These things can do inconceivable damage.”

 

Read more

 
U.S. may keep nuclear warheads handy for giant asteroid threat
Science-Astronomy
October 03, 2014
Nuclear warheads no longer considered necessary for national defense may be used against asteroids on a collision course with Earth
U.S. may keep nuclear warheads handy for giant asteroid threat
Should an approaching asteroid represent a possible collision risk to the Earth, officials say the United States could be ready to respond — with an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Several federal agencies are reportedly considering the feasibility of keeping some nuclear warheads that are no longer considered necessary for the national defense as possible protections against asteroids on a collision course with the Earth.

The proposal was revealed in a Government Accountability Office report on the federal agency responsible for America’s nuclear weapons, the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is planning on dismantling a portion of the country’s Cold War nuclear arsenal.

While that dismantling is underway there are plans to keep some warheads “pending a senior-level government evaluation of their use in planetary defense against earthbound asteroids,” the GOA report said.

Read more

 
Study Reveals Death of Ancient Stars Led to Universe
Science-Astronomy
September 29, 2014
Current solar systems, stars formed from mass left by ancient stars
Study Reveals Death of Ancient Stars Led to Universe
At first glance, it looks uncannily like an image of the human brain.

But in fact, this is the death of one of the first stars in our Universe.

Researchers say the death throes of these early stars were unique as they exploded as supernovae and burned completely, leaving no black hole behind, but instead spewing out chemical elements into space that eventually formed our Universe.

Read more

 
Scientists: ‘Extreme’ solar storm heading to Earth
Science-Astronomy
September 10, 2014

Scientists say an extreme solar flare is blasting its way to Earth and could mess up some power grids, satellites and radio transmissions.

Forecasters at the Space Weather Prediction Center don't yet know when Wednesday's solar storm will arrive here and which part of the planet will be facing the sun and bear the brunt of the effects. It could be as early as Thursday morning to a few days.

Prediction Center director Tom Berger said scientists will have a better idea after they get more satellite data.

The flare is considered extreme on forecasters' scale, but just barely. Flares like this cause geomagnetic storms which can knock some power grids offline temporarily. They also can damage satellites and disrupt radio transmissions. But they expand the colorful northern lights.

solar storm september 2014

 
Stephen Hawking: God particle could wipe out the universe
Science-Astronomy
September 08, 2014

.hawking98.png

Is Stephen Hawking offering only a theoretical doomsday scenario for the Higgs Boson?

Stephen Hawking seems to have turned into the man with the sandwich board that says: "The end is nigh."

Not only has he warned us that aliens might destroy us, but he's also been worrying that artificial intelligence might do the same.

Now he's perceiving a threat that might not merely put an end to Earth, but to the whole Universe.

 
Killer robots a small step away and must be outlawed, says top UN official
Science-Astronomy
August 27, 2014

A senior UN official says battlefield robots that can kill without human control are a 'small step' away and should be banned

Killer robots programmed to open fire without human control are just a “small step” from the battlefield and military powers should agree to outlaw them, a top United Nations official has said.

Angela Kane, the UN’s high representative for disarmament, said governments should be more open about programmes to develop the technology and she favoured a pre-emptive ban before it was too late.

She said: “Any weapon of war is terrible, and if you can launch this without human intervention, I think it’s even worse. It compounds the problem and dehumanises it in a way.

“It becomes a faceless war and I think that’s really terrible and so to my mind I think it should be outlawed. The decision is really in the hands of the states who have the capability to develop them."

Ms Kane said there was “a great deal of concern” about the prospect of killer robots being developed that would commit war crimes on the battlefield.

 
Asteroid that 'could wipe out human life' heading for Earth!
Science-Astronomy
August 15, 2014

asteroid 1950 DA

 

Scientists have moved closer to being able to stop a huge asteroid colliding with the Earth and potentially wiping out human life.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee have discovered that blowing the space rock up could make the collision worse by causing several devastating impacts.

Instead, small changes could be made to its surface to disrupt the forces keeping it together and cause it to break up in outer space.

They were studying asteroid 1950 DA, which has a one in 300 chance of hitting the planet on 16 March, 2880.

 
Apocalypse NOW: Killer solar superstorm could destroy Earth at ANY MOMENT
Science-Astronomy
August 02, 2014
VIOLENT solar superstorms could destroy life as we know it at ANY MOMENT, shocked scientists have warned today.

A solar flare could destroy the earth at any moment

Solar flares could destroy the earth at any moment[GETTY]

It is “only a matter of time” before a catastrophic eruption on the surface of the sun hurtles towards the planet with devastating consequences.

The Earth could be the target of an explosion equivalent to “10 billion Hiroshima bombs exploding at the same time”.

It has emerged crisis meetings have been held to discuss how to limit the damage of solar superstorms which present a “long-lasting” threat to all forms of life.

Scientists warn communication systems will be crippled, vital services such as transport, sanitation and medicine will close, and loss of power will plunge the planet into darkness.

Ashley Dale, member of international task force SolarMAX set up to identify the risks of a solar storm, said: “Without power, people would struggle to fuel their cars at petrol stations, get money from cash dispensers or pay online.

“Water and sewage systems would be affected too, meaning that health epidemics in urbanised areas would quickly take a grip, with diseases we thought we had left behind centuries ago soon returning.”

A solar flare eruption that was captured by NASA

An eruption was captured here by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory [NASA]

The earth would be obliterated if the sun was to send out a flare

The earth would be obliterated if the sun was to send out a flare [NASA]

The warning comes as Britain is experiencing one of the hottest summers on record. Scientists have warned of "highly unusual activity" on the surface of the sun which has already sent smaller solar flares spiralling towards earth.

Solar storms are triggered when coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from the sun tear into the earths magnetic field ripping it apart.

This triggers huge surges of electrical currents which lead to widespread power outages and destroy machinery which use electricity.

Mr Dale, currently writing a doctorate on aerospace engineering at Bristol University, said it is only a “matter of time” before a violent solar storm smashes into Earth.

He warned the planet is facing a repeat of the devastating solar superstorm of 1859 - dubbed the Carrington Event after English astronomer Richard Carrington.

Carrington spotted a solar flare before terrifying fireballs hurtled across the atmosphere making people think it was the end of the world.

Reports followed of sparks showering from telegraph machines, out of control fires and electrical operators being injured.

Around 10^22 kJ of energy catapulted around a trillion kilos of charged particles towards the Earth at speeds of up to 1,900 miles per second.

 
Hedge fund manager issues EMP warning to investors
Science-Astronomy
July 29, 2014
Concept image of an electromagnetic field

Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer has issued an unusual warning for investors, calling the threat of a widespread blackout from an electromagnetic surge the "most significant danger" in the world. Called an "electromagnetic pulse" or EMP, the events can occur naturally from solar storms or artificially from a high-altitude explosion of nuclear weapons. -- "While these pages are typically chock full of scary or depressing scenarios, there is one risk that is head-and-shoulders above all the rest in terms of the scope of potential damage adjusted for the likelihood of occurrence," Singer wrote to clients of his $24.8 billion Elliott Management on Monday in a standard investment update letter. "Even horrendous nuclear war, except in its most extreme form, can [be] a relatively localized issue, and the threat from asteroids can (possibly) be mitigated."

 
How a solar storm two years ago nearly caused a catastrophe on Earth
Science-Astronomy
July 24, 2014
Solar flare preceding CMEs on July 22, 2012 (NASA)

On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere.  These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years.

“If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,” physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA.

 
Suddenly, the sun is eerily quiet: Where did the sunspots go?
Science-Astronomy
July 19, 2014

A few weeks ago it was teeming with sunspots, as you would expect since we are supposed to be in the middle of solar maximum -- the time in the sun's 11-year cycle when it is the most active.

A nearly spotless sun

But now, there is hardly a sunspot in sight. If you look closely at the image above, taken on July 18 by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, you will see a tiny smidge of brown just right of center where a small sunspot appears to be developing. But just one day before, there truly was nothing. It was a totally spotless day.

 
U.S. Plans for Power-Grid Crippling Sun Storm
Science-Astronomy
July 07, 2014

Corporations and the federal government may not be prepared for a severe geomagnetic storm..

U.S. Plans for Power-Grid Crippling Sun Storm

At Delta Air Lines’ (DAL) operations center in Atlanta, meteorologists do more than monitor the usual wind, rain, and snow. They also keep a close eye out for a less common but potentially more dangerous phenomenon known as space weather. The sun’s eruptions can send billions of tons of superheated, electrically charged gas hurtling through the solar system. When these clouds hit the earth’s magnetic field, they can result in geomagnetic storms that disrupt electric power and communications systems.

 
Bus-Size Asteroid Buzzes Earth, Comes Closer Than the Moon
Science-Astronomy
May 04, 2014

A small asteroid about the size of a city bus zipped by Earth at a range closer than the moon early Saturday (May 3), but posed no threat to our planet.

The newly discovered asteroid 2014 HL129 came within 186,000 miles (299,338 kilometers) of Earth when it made its closest approach on Saturday morning, which is close enough to pass between the planet and the orbit of the moon. The average distance between the Earth and moon is about 238,855 miles (384,400 km).

You can watch a video animation of asteroid 2014 HL129's orbit around the sun on Space.com. The asteroid is about 25 feet (7.6 meters) wide, according to NASA's Asteroid Watch project based at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. It made its closest approach to Earth at 4:13 a.m. EDT (0813 GMT).

 
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