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Amateur astronomers spot asteroid moving toward Earth

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PARIS (BNS): A team of amateur astronomers has spotted an asteroid coming close enough to Earth to pose an "impact threat."

The space rock, named 2011 SF108, has been discovered by the volunteer Teide Observatory Tenerife Asteroid Survey (TOTAS) team during an observation slot sponsored by European Space Agency's Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme in September.

Using the 1m-aperture telescope at ESA's Optical Ground Station at Teide on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, the skygazers found the asteroid which is a near Earth object (NEO).

According to ESA, this is not the first asteroid found under SSA sponsorship, but it is the first that qualifies as a near Earth object - an object that passes close enough to Earth during its orbit around the Sun that it could pose an impact threat.

The orbit of 2011 SF108, however, brings it no closer than about 30 million km to Earth - "a safe distance," the space agency said.


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