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Asteroid to get closer to Earth in December

The asteroid Toutatis, one of the largest space objects that crosses Earth's orbit, will pass closer in December, NASA said in a statement.

The two-mile-wide asteroid will get within 2.2-million miles of Earth on Dec. 8, which scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration consider a "close approach."

Astronomers should have an excellent view of Toutatis with infrared optical and radar observation, NASA said.

Toutatis, which was discovered in 1989, approaches close by the Earth every leap year, but close is a relative term. In 2004, Toutatis will come within a million miles of Earth, or about four times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

The asteroid's orbit takes it almost to the distance of Jupiter's orbit before the sun's gravitational pull draws it back.