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Oh, Good, A Giant Asteroid Will Whiz Past Earth On Halloween

It'll be the closest an object like this has come in almost 10 years.

by Katie Kausch

Even outer space wants to get in on the Halloween tricks this year: At 5:18 p.m. EST on October 31, an Empire State Building-sized asteroid will come really close to Earth.

How close? About 1.3 Lunar distances away, according to NASA -- meaning the asteroid will be 1.3 times as far away as the moon (or roughly 499,720 kilometers). That's about 5,465,004 football fields, and the closest an object like this has come since 2006. Anyone with a telescope should be able to see the event, provided you're in the northern hemisphere in a timezone where it's dark.

NASA calls the asteroid "extremely eccentric," meaning its orbit is always slightly off center. It's size hints that it could be "cometary in nature."

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Though the asteroid is traveling at an "unusually high" velocity, you don't have anything to worry about. In August, NASA released a statement saying "all known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids have less than a 0.01% chance of impacting Earth in the next 100 years."

"Again, there is no existing evidence that an asteroid or any other celestial object is on a trajectory that will impact Earth," Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object office, said in the statement. "In fact, not a single one of the known objects has any credible chance of hitting our planet over the next century."

The next time an asteroid this big will come near is isn't until August 2027, when an asteroid will come within 1.1 lunar distances of the Earth.

There are an incredible amount of asteroids near the Earth. For a better idea of just how many there are, check out this 360-degree video highlighting all of the known asteroids near us.