NATION : Asteroid Is Closest in 50 Years

From Times Wire Services

An asteroid sped past Earth at a distance of 3 million miles today, Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced in Pasadena.

The asteroid, estimated at 300 feet to 1,000 feet in diameter, made one of the closest crossings of Earth orbit observed in 50 years, JPL said.

The rocky object, dubbed 1990 MF, was located June 26 by JPL planetary scientist Eleanor Helin at Palomar Observatory.

The asteroid was 8 million miles from Earth and traveling approximately 12,500 m.p.h. when spotted. It was then tracked last week by Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and by the NASA's Deep Space Network at Goldstone, Calif.

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