USA – Just when you thought it was safe to go outside, scientists announce our planet will be visited by an asteroid on December 16th. No need to sell the house, go wild and crazy, or confess your sins, the 5 kilometer in diameter asteroid, named Phaethon, will not pass close enough to earth to be much of a bother.
Phaethon, discovered by scientists in 1983, will pass 10,312,000 kilometers from Earth on December 16th. That is about one fifth of the distance between Mars and Earth, at the time when Mars is closest to our planet.
Phaethon is a unique asteroid because it produces a meteor shower, called Geminids, as it passes by. Normally it would be a comet that would cause a meteor shower, not an asteroid.
Amateur scientists, who have a good telescope, may be able to see the asteroid. Get a good look, the next time it will pass by earth, will be in 2093.