Photos: Huge Asteroid 2005 YU55 Flies Close By Earth in Nov. 2011

Keck II Telescope Image of Asteroid 2005 YU55

William Merline, SWRI/W.M. Keck Observatory

This first infrared image of asteroid 2005 YU55 was captured by the Keck II telescope.

New Image of Asteroid 2005 YU55

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This radar image of asteroid 2005 YU55 was obtained on Nov. 7, 2011, at 11:45 a.m. PST (2:45 p.m. EST/1945 UTC), when the space rock was at 3.6 lunar distances, which is about 860,000 miles, or 1.38 million kilometers, from Earth.

Asteroid 2005 YU55 Nov. 6, 2011, Radar Image

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This radar image of asteroid 2005 YU55 was obtained on Nov. 6, 2011, at 1:45 p.m. PST (4:45 p.m. EST/2145 UTC), when the space rock was at 6.4 lunar distances, which is about 1.5 million miles, or 2.46 million kilometers, from Earth.

Sky Chart for Asteroid 2005 YU55

Sky & Telescope magazine (http://SkyandTelescope.com)

This sky chart shows the motion of asteroid 2005 YU55 as it zooms by Earth on the evening of Nov. 8, 2011.

Huge Space Rock 2005 YU55 Sneaks Within Moon's Distance (Infographic)

Karl Tate, SPACE.com Contributor

Despite making an unusually close pass by the Earth, asteroid 2005 YU55 poses no threat of impact with our planet.

Asteroid 2005 YU55

NASA/Cornell/Arecibo

In April 2010, this radar image of the near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55 was taken by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. On Nov. 8, 2011, this large space rock zips by Earth again and will be surveyed by radar, visual and infrared equipment.

Trajectory of Asteroid 2005 YU55

JPL

This still from a NASA animation by Jon Giorgini of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows the trajectory of asteroid 2005 YU55 as it passes between Earth and the moon on Nov. 8, 2011.

Asteroid 2005 YU55's Discoverer

Ron Mastaler/Arizona Radio Observatory

Astronomer Robert McMillan, discoverer of asteroid 2005 YU55, sits in the SPACEWATCH control room on Kitt Peak.

70-meter Goldstone Antenna

NASA

NASA's 70-meter Goldstone antenna located near Barstow, Calif. The antenna can be used as a radar tool to study near-Earth asteroids during close flybys.

Asteroid 2005 YU55's Discoverer at Bok Telescope

Dave Harvey/Steward Observatory

Astronomer Robert McMillan, discoverer of asteroid 2005 YU55, observing with an experimental instrument unrelated to his asteroid work in 2007, in the dome of the Steward Observatory's 2.3-meter Bok Telescope on Kitt Peak.

Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico

Arecibo Observatory/NSF

Astronomers use the huge Arecibo Observatory, a radio telescope in Puerto Rico, to study the close flyby of Earth by asteroids.

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