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It's getting frequent now
You almost certainly missed it - and luckily it missed you - but an asteroid has come within 8,700 miles of hitting the Earth.

Astronomers spotted the object only 15 hours before its closest approach to our planet last Friday.

Its orbit brought it 30 times nearer than the Moon, which is 250,000 miles away.

Even had it been on collision course with us, the 23ft wide asteroid - known as 2009 VA - is unlikely to have made much of an impact because it would probably have all but burnt up in the atmosphere.

It was picked up by the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona, then identified by the Minor Planet Centre in Cambridge, Massachusetts as a near Earth object and plotted by experts at Nasa.

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© NASA
It was the third-closest approach on record for any asteroid that has failed to make it through our atmosphere.

Nasa scientists monitored a 100ft asteroid that passed 45,000 miles above our planet's surface on March 2. An object of similar size hit Siberia in 1908, levelling 1,200 square miles of forest.

By 2020, Nasa aims to have detected most large asteroids and comets that approach the Earth.