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Where to watch: Asteroid 4179 Toutatis set to fly by Earth

The asteroid 4179 Toutatis was first viewed in 1934, and makes a trip around the sun every four years.

Asteroid 4179 toutatis 2012 12 11Enlarge
A computer-generated view of Asteroid 4179 Toutatis, using observations by a NASA observatory in California. (NASA/Courtesy)

A huge asteroid is set to fly by Earth on Tuesday, and astronomers both amateur and professional can watch it live.

First spotted in 1934, Asteroid 4179 Toutatis zipped by the Canary Islands at around 3 p.m. ET today and will continue its journey past Earth in the coming days, Space.com reported.

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Toutatis passes by Earth every four years.

This year, it will come within 4.3 million miles of our planet — or about 18 lunar distances — at its closest point early Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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If you want to catch a glimpse yourself, the online Slooh Space Camera is offering live, free footage of the asteroid from professional-quality observatories starting at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday.

The Clay Center Observatory of the Dexter-Southfield School in Brookline, Massachusetts, is making footage available at about 5 p.m. ET Tuesday.

The Virtual Telescope Project will offer its own free webcast starting at 3 p.m. ET Thursday, complete with commentary from astrophysicists.

You can view that stream by clicking here.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/121211/asteroid-4179-toutatis-to-fly-by-earth