Huge Asteroid to Pass Earth on 22 July
Just after June 14 escape of 2012 LZ1 a hazardous asteroid; another asteroid that is the size of the city block will make its close approach to Earth on the 22July evening.
The asteroid is estimated to be 2,000 to 4,500 ft wide. Due to its size and proximity to Earth, 2002 AM31 qualifies as a near-Earth object (NEA).It will pass by a range of about 3.2 million miles (5.2 million kilometers). That is roughly estimated to about 13.7 times the distance between the Earth and the moon.
The movement of this space rock is monitored by cameras on Earth and in space. According to scientists, this asteroid has no chance of colliding with the Earth, but they say that such objects may one day pose a future concern. The space rock is listed as a "potentially hazardous asteroid" by the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass.
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On Sunday, the Slooh Space Camera skywatching website will host two live webcasts to offer Internet denizens views of the space rock from telescopes at the Prescott Observatory in Arizona and the Canary Islands, off the west coast of Africa.
Astronomy magazine's Bob Berman says, "Near Earth objects are no longer treasures only for the paranoid, or for those who secretly and strangely are rooting for an early apocalypse. The entire astronomical community has reversed its thinking about them over the past few decades. Instead of living on an 'island Earth' with little or no connection with other celestial objects, we now feel that collisions with comets or asteroids change the evolution of our biosphere, and maybe even seeded our world with the amino acids that started life long ago. In other words, these are important entities. Not to mention, there's always that exciting little hint of danger."
"One of our missions at Slooh is to provide the public with free, live views on fascinating celestial happenings," said Patrick Paolucci, President at Slooh. "Near-Earth asteroid 153958 (2003 AM31) represents 1 of approximately 9,000 whizzing past Earth at any given moment, and we wanted to highlight this one as it's only 13.7 lunar distances from Earth -- similar to near-Earth asteroid LZ1 which zoomed past us unexpectedly mid-June," he added.