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Asteroid 3 football fields long to fly by Earth tonight; watch live!

A massive asteroid the length of three football fields will make its closest approach to Earth tonight, and you can watch it fly by live, right here.

Beginning at 6 p.m. PST, the astronomy website Slooh.com will provide a live video feed of the asteroid from a telescope in the Canary Islands. The free show will last about an hour and will be visible in the video box above.

Asteroid the length of 3 football fields eludes sky-watchers

The asteroid is known as 2000 EM26, and although it is big, it poses no threat to Earth. At its closest approach to our planet it will still be eight times as far from us as the moon. The moon is, on average, 238,900 miles away.

During the Slooh broadcast, asteroid 2000 EM26 will probably appear as a bright dot moving among star trails, said Patrick Paolucci, the site's president. The website will also be showing animations of the asteroid.

Viewers are invited to pose questions about the asteroid's journey, or asteroids in general, on Twitter using the hashtag #asteroid. Astronomers on the Slooh team may answer them during the broadcast. 

Asteroids are rocks that hurtle through space. Most of them originate in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, and although they rarely hit Earth, they can cause devastating damage when they do.

The close approach of asteroid 2000 EM26 comes almost exactly one year after an asteroid just 65 feet in diameter exploded near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk on Feb. 15, 2013. The asteroid was modest in size, but the force of the explosion was equivalent to the energy released by more than 20 atomic bombs, according to the Slooh team. 

"We continue to discover these potentially hazardous asteroids -- sometimes only days before they make their close approaches to Earth," Slooh technical director Paul Cox said in a statement. "We need to find them before they find us!"

Let's watch the skies together. Follow me on Twitter for more like this.

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