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Giant Asteroid Soars Close to Earth
A gigantic sized asteroid, the size of three professional football fields, is due to fly very close to earth on Monday.
The close brush with earth can be seen in a live webcast. The asteroid, Near-Earth asteroid 2000 EM26, has no threat to us on earth. The online Slooh Space Camera will be online tracking the asteroid as it flies past earth on Monday. The live webcast starts at 9 pm EST (0200 Feb. 18 GMT) and you can watch the webcast directly through the Slooh website. The Slooh webcast will include commentary from Mark Boslough, an expert on planetary impacts.
Space.com is also broadcasting it live. According to Slooh, an international team of observatories, scientists are estimating that the asteroid is about 885 feet in diameter and is speeding by earth at a whopping 27,000 miles per hour. The closest 2000 EM26 will get to the earth is 8.8 lunar distances.
“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!”
February 15, 2013, there were two Near Earth Objects (NEO) that were tracked by scientist that they say passed very close to the earth. One was a 98-foot 2012 DA14 asteroid. The other was a 65-foot space rock that unexpectedly exploded 18 miles above Chelyabinsk, Russia. The energy that was released was equivalent to 20 atomic bombs, Slooh officials said.
“On a practical level, a previously- unknown, undiscovered asteroid seems to hit our planet and cause damage or injury once a century or so, as we witnessed on June 20, 1908 and February 15, 2013,”Slooh astronomer Bob Berman said in a statement. “Every few centuries, an even more massive asteroid strikes us–fortunately usually impacting in an ocean or wasteland such as Antarctica. But the ongoing threat, and the fact that biosphere-altering events remain a real if small annual possibility, suggests that discovering and tracking all NEOs, as well as setting up contingency plans for deflecting them on short notice should the need arise, would be a wise use of resources.”
Relative to the distance of EM26, there is nothing to worry about for those science fiction fans- don’t let your imaginations get carried away. Back on Earth, at the Winter Olympics, very cool pieces of the Russian meteorite will be awarded to seven gold medal winners.
Image Credit: nj1015.comGiant Asteroid Soars Close to Earth by Jaan