This picture shows the orbit of Toutatis. It was close to Earth in September 2004.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original artwork by Randy Russell, based on orbital information from NASA's Near Earth Object Program.
Asteroid Toutatis Passes Near Earth
News story originally written on October 1, 2004
A big asteroid flew by Earth. Don't worry though - it isn't going to hit us!
The asteroid is named Toutatis. It didn't get too close to Earth. The closest
Toutatis came to Earth was 1.5
million kilometers (961 thousand miles) away. That's about four times as far
away as the Moon is. Toutatis flew by Earth on September 29,
Toutatis is shaped like a potato. It is about
4.6 km (2.9 miles) long. That's as big as a mountain! It is a good thing it didn't
hit Earth. An asteroid that big would make a mess if it hit Earth!
Toutatis is named after a god of the Celts and
Gauls. Toutatis was a god of war and growth. His name means 'king of the world',
'king of battle' or 'father of the tribe'.
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