An asteroid fly by is set to happen tonight, but no need to panic. You can watch this space phenomenon from the comfort of your favorite armchair. The enormous asteroid, named 2000 EM26, will pass approximately 8.8 lunar distances from the Earth – a close call as far as celestial fly bys go.
NBC on Monday explains:
“Near-Earth asteroid 2000 EM26 poses no threat of actually hitting the planet, but the online Slooh Space Camera will track the asteroid as it passes by Earth on Monday. The live Slooh webcast will start at 9 p.m. ET (0200 Feb. 18 GMT), and you can also watch the webcast directly through the Slooh website.”
You can also participate in the broadcast by using the twitter hashtag #asteroid.
In astronomy, a lunar distance (LD) is the measurement of the distance between the Earth and the Moon. The average distance is 238,900 miles, so 8.8 lunar distances means the asteroid will pass approximately 2.1 million miles away.
Still close enough to see, scientists say. The 885 foot diameter rock will whizz by at about 27,000 miles per hour.
You can also watch the asteroid broadcast live on Space.com.
“We continue to discover these potentially hazardous asteroids — sometimes only days before they make their close approaches to Earth,” Slooh's technical and research director, Paul Cox said in a statement. “Slooh’s asteroid research campaign is gathering momentum with Slooh members using the Slooh robotic telescopes to monitor this huge population of potentially hazardous space rocks. We need to find them before they find us!”