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This picture shows the orbit of Toutatis. It was close to Earth in September 2004.
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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, 2004.

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'.

Last modified October 11, 2004 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA