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Asteroid, Earth Not On Collision Course; Watch Rare Flyby (VIDEO)

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A huge asteroid speeding through space at 30,000 miles per hour was projected to come so close to Earth on Tuesday that it would at one point travel inside the moon's orbit.

This is the closest encounter of its kind in more than 30 years, and while scientists say we have nothing to worry about, astronomers and stargazers prepared for a pretty exciting night.

Click here for more information on the asteroid, and scroll down for updates from when the asteroid passed closest to Earth.

WATCH: First NASA Movie of Asteroid 2005 YU55:

Countdown to asteroid passing closest to Earth:

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The Associated Press writes:

An asteroid as big as an aircraft carrier zipped by Earth on Tuesday in the closest encounter by such a massive space rock in more than three decades. Scientists ruled out any chance of a collision but turned their telescopes skyward to learn more about the object known as 2005 YU55.

Read more here.

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@ AsteroidWatch : @tdcmba Yes, of course it missed. There was no threat of it hitting but it was close enough to allow us to do great science.

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Remember when we thought that asteroid might hit us?

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*Crickets*?

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@ AsteroidWatch : Another live feed of asteroid #YU55 from the Clay Center Observatory's 25-inch telescope: http://t.co/I3fWvPbP

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@ slow_ro : RT @AsteroidWatch Another live feed of asteroid #YU55 from the Clay Center Observatory's 25-inch telescope: http://t.co/2WeeOQko

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Have no fear - NASA writes that while the asteroid's encounter with Earth is the closest it has come in the last 200 years, "The gravitational influence of the asteroid will have no detectable effect on Earth, including tides and tectonic plates."

Read more here.

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Scientific American discusses asteroids, writing, "On average, a 30 meter sized object, the smallest that could cause significant ground damage, would be expected to hit every few hundred years, and a larger object of a kilometer in diameter would not be expected to hit but every few hundred thousand years."

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Ever wonder what a large asteroid impact would do? Check out this simulator from Purdue University.

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Watch the first video of the asteroid from NASA below, and learn more here:

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@ PopMech : Death by #asteroid, and how to avoid it http://t.co/EW0cRueb

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MSNBC reports that "the science team for NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer recently estimated that more than 90 percent of the near-Earth asteroids wider than a kilometer (0.6 miles) have been identified, but that thousands of asteroids in YU55's size range still remain to be detected."

Read more here.

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Check out http://events.slooh.com/ for a live webcast from a Canary Islands telescope.

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In a Washington Post Q & A with NSF astronomer Thomas Statler, a concerned person asked what to do if they see an asteroid coming towards them: "Should one seek to go into a basement or, if there is not time, move into a doorframe?"

Statler responded, "Well, if you really know it's coming toward YOU, the doorframe ain't gonna help."

Read the full Q & A here.

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Aerospace engineers from Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) have created an animation of the asteroid passing Earth, viewable below. (COURTESY ANALYTICAL GRAPHICS, INC.):

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@ stevehook1 : Asteroid approaching. Pleased I didn't pay for my hotel room up front.

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No telescope? No worries! The Near Earth Object Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory tweeted information about a live webcast of 2005 YU55's flyby.

@ AsteroidWatch : A live webcast of #YU55 from a Canary Island telescope will be provided by @slooh starting at 4pm ET today. www.slooh.com

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Space.com has put together an awesome infographic that includes information about other asteroid flybys, past and future. Check it out here.

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TIME reports that scientists at Spaceguard are currently watching 19,500 asteroids of 330-3,300 ft range that qualify as "near-Earth," adding that "moving objects pack a bigger punch than their size suggests."

More here.

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@ ryanbeckwith : That's what THEY want you to believe. RT @danpeake: Asteroid to just miss Earth on tonight’s flyby http://t.co/jNO4nRPx

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York University astronomer Paul Delaney told CTV's Canada AM, "NASA and other spacefaring agencies are out there trying to find credible ways to actually deflect these objects. According to the news organization, Delaney believes technology will be developed in the future to help divert an asteroid.

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BBC News reports that the asteroid is "lazily spinning about once every 20 hours." Two radio telescopes in particular will be following the asteroid: the Goldstone Observatory in California and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

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The Washington Post reports that NASA's search for threatening asteroids costs about million each year.

More here.

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NASA reports:

The last time a space rock this large came as close to Earth was in 1976, although astronomers did not know about the flyby at the time. The next known approach of an asteroid this size will be in 2028.

More here.

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Check out this video below by Discovery about how to stop an asteroid:

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The Miami Herald tweets:

@ MiamiHerald : Giant #asteroid watched closely on path near Earth, might reveal the "primordial ingredients of life" http://t.co/T7EtMhYT #space

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The Associated Press reports that since its discovery, scientists have learned that the asteroid's "surface is coal black, and it spins slowly through space."

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The Sydney Morning Herald reports that according to Paul Francis, an astrophysicist at the Australian National University, if an asteroid did hit Earth, it would ''certainly take out a medium-sized continent."

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CNN reports:

If the asteroid were to crash into Earth, it could cause a 4,000 megaton blast and a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, according to scientists at Purdue University.

The experts added that it could also cause a 70-foot high tsunami if it fell in the ocean.

More here.

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@ KING5Seattle : "We're 100 percent confident this is not a threat" - carrier-sized asteroid coming close to Earth: http://t.co/YqGEgV4F

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Around the Web

Earth's close encounter with an asteroid - CNN.com

Big Asteroid to Cross Earth-Moon Orbit Tuesday | Wired Science ...

Asteroid 2005 YU55, Size Of Modern Aircraft Carrier, Set To Buzz ...

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