A newly discovered asteroid with a size of a football field will zoom past Earth Mar. 9 just days after another cosmic rock cruised past Earth at a distance less than moon’s orbit.
The Catalina Sky Survey discovered asteroid 2013 ET with an estimated size of 100 meters, Mar. 3. The giant rock will pass Earth Saturday at a distance of 600,000 miles (960,000 kilometers) that is 2.5 times the distance of moon from Earth. The distance to moon’s orbit from the Earth differs between 363,104 to 406,696 kilometers (225,622 and 252,088 miles).
Previously, asteroid 2013 EC with a diameter of 10 meters had zipped through the Earth’s neighborhood Mar. 4 at a distance of 230,000 miles, which is a little closer than the moon’s distance from Earth.
Asteroid ET when it passes Earth will be in an orbit too far away for the stargazers to spot with naked eye, but the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, run by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi will webcast a live stream of the asteroid’s flyby from its Virtual Telescope robotic facility, as reported by Space.com.
The closest approach of asteroid 2013 ET will also be webcast live on Slooh - a Space Camera Broadcast Channel, starting at 12:15 p.m. PST (3:15 p.m. EST or 20:15 p.m. UTC). The free-to-public webcast can be viewed here: http://events.slooh.com/.
Like the asteroid 2013 EC, there is no potential danger from asteroid 2013 ET to Earth.
NASA scientists have made headway in mapping 95 percent of the giant cosmic objects that pass near Earth’s orbit and that could destroy parts of Earth if they hit the atmosphere. Researchers have confirmed that none of these identified objects would cruise close enough to cause damage in near future.
However, scientists are less sure about smaller objects as only 30 percent of such rocks have been detected so far. A meteor with a mass of 10,000 tons that streaked into the atmosphere and exploded over the Ural Mountains in central Russia Feb.15 injuring over 1000 people, was a surprise visitor.