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Eerie skull-shaped asteroid will zoom past the Earth just after Halloween

Artist’s impression of the asteroid, which, in certain lighting conditions, looks like a human skull.

(José Antonio Peñas/SINC)

An asteroid that in certain lighting conditions, looks like a human skull, will fly past Earth just after Halloween.

The space rock’s official title is Asteroid 2015 TB145 and is a so-called “dead comet” that has lost most of its ice and gases. Appropriate for the creepy appearance, the asteroid first flew past the Earth on Halloween 2015, in which the NASA to call it “The Great Pumpkin.”

In 2015, the asteroid flew past the Earth at a distance of only 300,000 miles, Space.com reports. For comparison, the average distance between the Earth and the Moon is 238,855 miles.

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First discovered on Oct. 10, 2015 by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS-1 (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System), the “Halloween asteroid” is set to be another flyby in November, researchers say. However, it is nowhere near as close to our planet at this time.

Dead comet that will safely zip by Earth on 31 Oct looks eerily like a skull: https://t.co/8bq4UBrFO9 #HappyHalloween pic.twitter.com/gICZTSLcZr

— NASA (@NASA) October 30, 2015

Asteroid 2015 TB145, you can zoom in or out of the past 105 times the average moon distance, SINC reports, citing a study published last year.

The space rock’s diameter measures between 2,050 feet and 2,297 feet, according to the scientists.

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Last year, a skyscraper-sized asteroid with the name (441987) 2010 NY65 flew past the Earth at about eight times the distance between Earth and the moon. Also in 2017, asteroid Florence, a massive 2.7 km long space rock passed by Earth on 18 lunar distances.

In 2016, NASA opened a new office to track asteroids and comets that come too close to the Earth. The Planetary Defense coordination office (PDCO) formalizes the agency’s existing programs for detecting and tracking of near-Earth Objects, known as NEOs.

This week, the japanese space agency released stunning new photos and video from a far-off asteroid’s rocky surface were captured by two small rovers.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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