Monster asteroid buzzed by Earth on Monday: NASA

February 20, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

A monster space rock the size of three football fields is about to soar past Earth and you can watch it do its thing live on the web. Fortunately, scientists say there’s no chance the asteroid will collide with Earth.

Near Earth Asteroid (NEO) 2000 EM26 measures about 885 feet in diameter (270 meters)–large enough to be defined as “potentially hazardous”–and is zipping through the solar system at the mind-bogglingly high speed of 27,000 miles per hour. The online Slooh Space Camera will track the asteroid and the Slooh live webcast will begin at 9 p.m. EST on Feb. 17. You also can watch the space rock live on

During the asteroid’s closest approach, it will be about 9 lunar distances (2.1 million miles) from Earth. Slooh’s remote controlled telescopes on the Canary Islands, off the coast of West Africa, will cover the approach. But because the asteroid will be shining at only a weak 16th magnitude in the northern sky constellation Bootes (the herdsman), you won’t be able to see it with a small backyard telescope.

Just about one year ago, on Feb. 15, 2013, a 98-foot (30 meter) wide meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, causing widespread property damage and injuring more than 1,000 people, mostly from falling glass. It released the energy equivalent of about 20 atomic bombs, scientists say.

“On a practical level, a previously unknown, undiscovered asteroid seems to hit our planet and cause damage or injury once a century or so, as we witnessed on June 20, 1908 and February 15, 2013. Every few centuries, an even more massive asteroid strikes us, fortunately usually impacting an ocean or wasteland such as Antarctica,” Bob Berman, an astronomer with Slooh broadcast, said in a statement, adding, “But the ongoing threat, and the fact that biosphere altering events remain a real if small annual possibility, suggests that discovering and tracking all NEOs, as well as setting up contingency plans for deflecting them on short notice should the need arise, would be a wise use of resources.”

The Slooh webcast will include commentary from asteroid impact expert Mark Boslough. Viewers will be able to ask questions during the show.

Comments are closed.