Huge Asteroid To Whizz Past Earth This Week
A huge 98-foot newly discovered asteroid is expected to fly by the blue planet Wednesday. However, this fly by does not pose any threat, the scientists say.
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Discovered on February 28, 2014, by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARSS1), the asteroid dubbed 2014 DX110 is due to make its closest encounter with Earth at about 1 p.m. PST/4 p.m. EST on March 5, space agency NASA declared.
This Apollo class space rock, estimated to be about 30 meters wide, will zoom approximately about 217,000 miles away from Earth. Despite being closer than the moon's orbit, the astronomers predict that the asteroid travelling at a speed of 14.85 km/s (32,076 mph) poses no real threat to the Earthlings.
The Apollo class asteroid is a NEO, near-Earth-asteroid. Initially discovered in 1932, they are known to have an orbital period of 1,192 days.
All the stargazers who are curious to monitor the flyby as it happens can switch to live coverage via Slooh, the virtual telescope project. It offers the amateur astronomers the chance to watch the event online and spot the space rock flash against the black background.
Slooh is known for the close watch it keeps on asteroids and comets of varied sizes that orbit near Earth. This is not the first time that Slooh is involved in monitoring hazardous space rocks. They have covered many asteroids that brushed close to Earth. Some of them include Apophis, Toutatis and asteroid 2012 LZ1. Slooh was a part of NASA's Asteroid Grand Challenge. The most recent event covered by Slooh was the journey of the hazardous asteroid 2000 EM26 that passed the Earth on Feb 17, 2014.
Astronomer, Bob Berman says , "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 in an ocean or wasteland such an Antarctica. 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."