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Scientists spot asteroid heading towards Earth


The asteroid spotted by the Pan-STARRS telescope. A PS1SC photo

CAMBRIDGE (BNS): A “potentially hazardous asteroid” will approach the Earth in mod-October but will not hit the planet, scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have said.

The asteroid, about 150 feet in diameter and designated ‘2010 ST3’, was detected by the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) PS1 telescope on September 16 when it was about 20 million miles away.

This is the first “potentially hazardous object” (PHO) detected by the Pan-STARRS telescope, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said in a statement.

A PHO can cause devastation on a regional scale if it ever hits our planet. Such impacts are estimated to occur once every few thousand years.

The newly-detected asteroid, however, does not pose any threat to the Earth, the scientists said.

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