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A large asteroid passed near Earth on September 29, 2004. How close was it? Not close enough to worry about! Asteroid Toutatis passed within about 1.5 million kilometers (961 thousand miles) of Earth,...more
Do you know what a planet is? If so, you are doing better than professional astronomers! Right now astronomers aren't quite sure how to define a planet. Maybe you've heard that some astronomers think Pluto...more
Pluto has been officially demoted from its status as a planet. The International Astronomical Union (IAU), at a meeting in August 2006, voted on their first "official" definition of a planet....more
Meteors are streaks of light, usually lasting just a few seconds, which people occasionally see in the night sky. They are sometimes called "shooting stars" or "falling stars", though they are not stars...more
The Geminid meteor shower happens every year in December. Meteor showers are times when you can see many meteors or "shooting stars" in one night. There are several meteor showers each year. Most meteor...more
Toutatis is a very strange asteroid. It has a strange shape, and it spins in a very unusual way. Sometimes Toutatis comes close to Earth. This asteroid is shaped sort of like a potato. Its size is 1.92...more
Lutetia is a medium-sized asteroid. It orbits the Sun in the main asteroid belt between the planets Mars and Jupiter. Its official name is "21 Lutetia" because it was the 21st asteroid discovered. Lutetia...more