Watch an asteroid fly by Earth tonight

Space rock 2014 DX110 will pass by closer than the Moon

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At its closest approach, 2014 DX110 will only be 350,000km from the Earth's surface.

Credit: ESA/P.Carril


An asteroid will pass by the Earth closer than the Moon's orbit at 21:07 GMT on 5 March 2014 and be visible from the Earth. The asteroid, named 2014 DX110, was found only a few days ago by the Pan-STARRS survey.

The asteroid is estimated to be 30m in size and weighs around 16,000 tonnes, around the same size as the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia on 15 February 2013. 2014 DX110, however, posses no risk to the planet.

In recent years there has been a lot of interest in tracking near-Earth Objects (NEOs) that might potentially collide with the Earth. Projects such as Pan-STARRS scan the sky for these objects, hoping to spot any asteroid that might disrupt life on Earth far enough in advance to deflect it.

This asteroid wasn’t discovered until recently because it is relatively small, but a larger, more dangerous, object would be seen well in advance.

2014 DX110 is one of 5,700 known Apollo asteroids, all of which have orbits that cross over with that of the Earth’s. The asteroid won’t cross our path again until 2046 and even then it is unlikely to pose a threat. NASA have estimated the future impact risk at 1 in 10 million.

The asteroid will be visible in the constellation of Camelopardalis, but isn’t expected to brighten above mag. +15.0. It should be visible with a good telescope or you can watch it broadcast through the Slooh and Virtual Telescope livestreams.


 

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