Skip to main content

See also:

Beware of the space Beast

Asteroid (253) Mathilde taken by the space probe NEAR Shoemaker on 27 June 1997 from a distance of 2400 km.
Asteroid (253) Mathilde taken by the space probe NEAR Shoemaker on 27 June 1997 from a distance of 2400 km.
NASA (public domain)

The asteroid 2014 HQ124,aka “The Beast” is expected to flyby Earth tonight at about 1:56 am at a rate of up to 31,000 mph (17 times faster than a shot from a high-speed rifle). Estimated to be around 1,100 feet in diameter, the mammoth rock was first spotted by the Jet propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA on April 23. However, there is no need to fear, since it will not come any closer to us than a distance of more than “3 times the distance between the Earth and the moon (about 716,565 miles),” according to NASA scientists.

Still, astronomer Bob Berman, of the online Slooh community observatory, said it is "disconcerting" that an asteroid this large flying so close to the planet was only spotted less than two months before its nearest approach to Earth.” He also noted that HQ124 is “at least 10 times bigger, and possibly 20 times, than the asteroid that injured a thousand people last year in Chelyabinsk, Siberia. "If it were impact us, the energy released would be measured not in kilotons like the atomic bombs that ended World War II, but in H-bomb type megatons."