An asteroid as large as an Olympic swimming pool has raced past the Earth at a distance of just 27,700km (17,200mi) – the closest ever predicted for an object of that size. It passed far closer even than the geosynchronous satellites that orbit the Earth, but there was no risk of impacts or collisions.
Its closest approach was at 19:25 GMT.
For regions in darkness, it should remain visible until about midnight through good binoculars or a telescope.
The asteroid’s arrival was preceded by a damaging meteor event in Russia on Friday – but indications from the meteor’s path suggest that the two events are entirely unrelated – just a "cosmic coincidence", as Alan Fitzsimmons of Queens University Belfast told BBC News.
The asteroid orbits the Sun in 368 days – a period similar to Earth’s year – but it does not orbit in the same plane as the Earth.
As it passes – at 7.8km/s (17,450 mi/hr) – it will come from "under" the Earth and return back toward the Sun from "above". It passed directly over the eastern Indian Ocean, making for the best viewing in Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia.
But keen viewers everywhere used several live streams of the event on the internet, including a feed from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Nasa.