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Small asteroid to zip harmlessly past Earth Monday

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PASADENA, Calif. >> NASA says a newly discovered asteroid will have a close encounter with Earth on Monday, but there’s no need to worry. 

The space agency’s Near-Earth Object Program Office says the small space rock — dubbed 2011 MD — will pass 7,500 miles above Earth’s surface over the southern Atlantic Ocean at about 3:30 a.m. Hawaii time.

Though it will come close, it’s not a distance record holder. Earlier this year, a tiny asteroid flew by even closer — within 3,400 miles. . 

The latest asteroid measures 33 feet long and was discovered this week by telescopes in New Mexico. Scientists say asteroids this size sail past Earth every six years. 

The asteroid will briefly be bright enough that medium-size telescopes may be able to spot it. 

 

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