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Close encounter for asteroid

SCOTS stargazers will have their eyes on the skies tonight when a "potentially hazardous" asteroid the size of three football fields comes uncomfortably close to Earth.

Although the space rock, known as 2000 EM26, poses no threat, it will pass the Earth at just under nine times the distance to the moon.

It is defined as a potentially ­hazardous Near Earth Object (NEO) large enough to cause significant damage in the event of an impact.

Scientists estimate the asteroid, ­travelling at 27,000mph, measures 885ft across. At its closest approach at 2am UK time, the rock will be 2.1 million miles from Earth. It has arrived almost exactly one year after another asteroid unexpectedly exploded above the town of Chelyabinsk, in Russia.

Images of the asteroid making its fly-by will be captured by the Slooh robotic telescope service in the Canary Islands.

Slooh host and astronomer Dr Bob Berman said: "Every few centuries, an even more massive asteroid strikes us - usually impacting in an ocean or wasteland such an Antarctica."

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