Giant asteroid hurtling through skies can be seen from UK tonight

A giant asteroid flying through the skies tonight will be visible from the UK.

Named Apophis after the Ancient Greek god of chaos, the asteroid will come to within 10,471,577 miles – about 43 times the distance from the Earth to the moon – of our planet at around 1am on Saturday morning.

While it won't be colliding with Earth, the asteroid will be visible to telescopes and within the radar range of the planet.

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The European Virtual Telescope Project will host a live online feed to allow people to watch the fly-by as it happens.

If you miss it tonight, t he asteroid will return on April 13, 2029, for the closest flyby of an asteroid of its size, when it comes no closer than 19,400 miles (31,300 kilometres) from Earth, reports the Mirror.

And it will be back again in 2036, with initial concerns over the remote possibility of an impact now eased thanks to new data.

NASA says: "Discovered in 2004, the asteroid, which is the size of three-and-a-half football fields, gathered the immediate attention of space scientists and the media when initial calculations of its orbit indicated a 2.7 per cent possibility of an Earth impact during a close flyby in 2029.

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"Data discovered during a search of old astronomical images provided the additional information required to rule out the 2029 impact scenario, but a remote possibility of one in 2036 remained."

However, NASA now says 2036 has also now been ruled out.

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Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at its Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said: "New data provided by the Magdalena Ridge [New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology] and the Pan-STARRS [Univ. of Hawaii] optical observatories, along with very recent data provided by the Goldstone Solar System Radar, we have effectively ruled out the possibility of an Earth impact by Apophis in 2036."

"The impact odds as they stand now are less than one in a million, which makes us comfortable saying we can effectively rule out an Earth impact in 2036. Our interest in asteroid Apophis will essentially be for its scientific interest for the foreseeable future."

NASA detects and tracks asteroids and comets passing close to Earth using ground and space-based telescopes. The Near-Earth Object Observations Program, known as "Spaceguard," discovers, categorises and plots the orbits of these objects to determine if they could be hazardous.