Asteroid passing Earth today is big as Eiffel Tower and ‘would kill millions’

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A massive asteroid expected to scrape past Earth on Friday is big enough to kill millions of people if ever hit our planet, according to experts.

The flying rock from outer space is 1,000 feet long, which is bigger than the Eiffel Tower and just smaller than the Empire State Building in New York.

However, Nasa has reassured anyone worried of a pre-Christmas apocalypse that the approaching 4660 Nereus asteroid poses no danger to life on Earth.

It has still been labelled by astronomers as "potentially hazardous" because it will come within 4.65 million miles of our home planet.

The skyscraper-sized asteroid will be visible from the UK tomorrow, and is expected to be closest to Earth at 2:50pm.

Dr Franck Marchis, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, told The Sun : "Its orbit could be deflected by various things such as an encounter with another asteroid or a planet like Venus. Any deviation could be an issue

“It’s like if you have an evil neighbour, it’s in your interests to know where they are and what they’re doing.”

Giving an example of what would happen if an asteroid this size ever hit the UK, he said that a strike in Coventry would destroy most of the Midlands and inflict damage as far away as Leeds and Southampton.

Professor Martin Barstow, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Leicester, meanwhile commented to LeicestershireLive : “Collectively, asteroids do pose a potential threat, as the dinosaurs found out 63 million years ago.

"Scientists are interested in groups of asteroids for this reason and it is vital that we track them, because one day we might find one that could cause a problem, although that prospect is unlikely.

4660 Nereus was first seen back in 1982 and is one of the most frequent visitors to our part of the galaxy, as it passes by roughly every ten years,

The famous Halley's comet, by comparison, comes every 75 years.

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