Phew! Asteroid to Miss Earth by 7,600 Miles

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Trajectory of asteroid "2011 MD" on June 27, 2011, from the direction of the sun.

Duck! (If you happen to be 7,600 miles tall.)

At 1:00 pm EDT, the asteroid dubbed 2011 MD — only 5-20 meters in diameter — will narrowly miss the Earth by about 7,600 miles.  In February, 2011 CQ1 barely avoided hitting the planet by 3,400 miles.

(MORE: Asteroids May Have Served As Incubators For Life)

NASA, however, maintains that none of these small asteroids were heading directly towards us.  And even if they did enter the atmosphere, they would probably burn up and disintegrate, with detritus falling into the ocean or land–but not enough to cause serious damage to the Earth, according to UK asteroid expert Dr. Emily Baldwin.

The Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) team has been monitoring 2011 MD since telescopes in Socorro, New Mexico, discovered it on June 22nd.

View animated images of the asteroid on NASA’s Asteroid Watch Twitter here and here.

PHOTOS: The Universe, to Scale