Dec 24, 2015 01:37 AM EST
It is going to be a double treat for space enthusiasts this holiday season as two significant events will happen on the eve and the night of Christmas this year. An asteroid will be passing by Earth on Dec. 24 or the Christmas Eve, and also, there's going to be a full moon on Dec. 25 or in the evening of Christmas day.
Both are not annual events as the asteroid, which is named 2003 SD220 according to the year of its discovery, will be back in 2018. Meanwhile, the full moon on a Christmas day will not be happening again until the year 2034.
The asteroid 2003 SD220 that is expected to pass by Earth on Dec. 24 has an estimated distance of 11 million kilometers, this is 28 times the distance between the Moon and Earth. However, the passby with an approximated speed of 27 kilometer/second is unlikely to be seen by amateur telescopes, much less by the naked eyes, despite of its size of 0.7 kilometer in diameter and 2 kilometers in length.
The speculations against the asteroid such as collisions and seismic activity as it passes by Earth are clarified by NASA. The agency clearly stated that collision will not be a dilemma because of its great distance for the next 200 years. Furthermore, even at its closest point to Earth, it would still be difficult, much less impossible, for it to have any effect on the planet.
On the other hand, the full moon will shine brightest at 10:11 p.m. AEDT on Dec. 25 in Australia. This majestic event has been monitored since 2009 by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. The last Christmas full moon the Earth has witnessed has been on the Dec. 25 1977, which is about 38 years ago. And the next one is predicted to happen in 2034, that is, another 19 years of waiting.
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