Empire State Building-sized Asteroid flies by Earth.

An asteroid estimated to be at least 1,600 feet long flew past Earth at roughly 1.1 million miles out.

Nathan Montoya, Editor of News

In early February, the asteroid 2011 AG5 passed Earth, and as it did, scientists with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California observed the asteroid to gather more accurate data about the space rock. These observations were invaluable because they helped scientists determine the size, rotation surface details, and shape of 2011 AG5. Since its discovery, in 2011 AG5 has been a “poster child” of an asteroid, mainly because of the possibility that it could impact the Earth one day. However, continued monitoring of the asteroid’s orbit and images NASA has shared show that it won’t be coming anywhere near Earth for a while and seems to pose no threat to humanity on Earth.

Regardless, these images of the asteroid have given a lot of information to scientists, at roughly 1,600 feet long and 500 feet wide, roughly the same size as the Empire State Building. According to Lance Benner, a principal scientist at JPL, this asteroid is the most elongated one that NASA has ever seen. While NASA has observed 1,040 asteroids, the 2011 AG5’s oblong shape as well as its narrow width, make it especially unique compared to any other asteroid that we’ve seen so far.