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Tonight, asteroid Eros will make its closest approach to Earth until 2056

ErosPIA02923color

This mosaic image of Asteroid 433 Eros was created using six images taken February 29, 2000, by the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Shoemaker spacecraft from an altitude of about 125 miles (200 kilometers).

NASA/JPL/JHUAPL
Near-Earth asteroid 433 Eros makes its closest approach to Earth since 2012 today, when it comes within 19.4 million miles (31.2 million kilometers) of our planet.

Throughout the week, asteroid Eros glows at 9th magnitude, making it bright enough to glimpse through small telescopes. The elongated asteroid has an average diameter of just over 10.5 miles (17 km), making it about 1/50th the diameter of dwarf Planet Ceres, which is the largest body in the asteroid belt.

Asteroid 433 Eros resides about 10° southwest of brilliant Capella this evening, a region that lies high in the east after darkness falls.

If you can't make it out tonight (or clouds thwart your plans), be sure to catch Eros sometime this month — it won’t be as close or as bright again until 2056.

For more quick and easy observing tips, make sure to check out The sky this week for January 11 to 20.
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