Asteroid size of meteor which ‘wreaked havoc in Russia’ heading towards Earth

An asteroid the size of one which wreaked havoc in Russia is set to make a close approach with Earth on September 1.

Labelled asteroid 2011 ES4 by NASA, it measures 22m to 49m in diameter and has been classed as a Near Earth Object (NEO).

It is expected to pass closest to the Earth around 5.12pm.

Astronomer Dr Tony Phillips wrote on spaceweather.com: "On Sept 1, asteroid 2011 ES4 will fly through the Earth-Moon system only 72,000 miles from Earth – close, but there is no danger of a collision."

It is roughly the same size of the Chelyabinsk meteor, which entered Earth’s atmosphere above Russia in February 2013.

The meteor triggered a shock wave the broke windows in six Russian cities.

Approximately 1,500 people received medical treatment, mostly from flying glass.

Asteroid 2011 ES4 was initially detected on March 2, 2011, by the Mount Lemmon Survey in Arizona, the US.

However, after that point it became too faint to be observed.

Consequently, scientists believe 2011 ES4 will pass between 0.3 or 30% of the Earth-Moon distance which is 238,855 miles.

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Astronomer and asteroid expert Lance Benner said: "Uncertainty indicates that it could miss Earth by 0.08 AU (astronomical units), which is much, much more than one Earth-Moon distance.

"If that happens, and given that the Moon is nearly full right now, then it’s possible that none of the surveys will find it during this flyby."

Astronomical units are used to measure the vast distances in our solar system, with one AU equating to approximately to 93 million miles.

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