Madison College students watch asteroid pass by earth - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison College students watch asteroid pass by earth

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A 150 foot asteroid passed safely by earth Friday afternoon. It was the closest an asteroid of its size has gotten to earth in known history, 17,000 miles.

Some students at Madison College used the event as a learning opportunity. NASA has been tracking the asteroid's movements and knew there was no threat to earth.

Astronomy instructor Dixie Burns says earth gets hit by dust-sized particles from space everyday. "There might be one or two large enough to reach the surface but most of the earth is uninhabited, half the earth is in daylight, 70 percent is ocean so seeing this stuff becomes rare."

Burns says 20 years ago, we wouldn't have known about this ahead of time. NASA now has a program where they track asteroids of a certain size.

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