NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is on a mission to an asteroid, but on its way it gave us a snapshot of two things we Earthlings are very familiar with. Veuer’s Josh King has the story (@abridgetoland).Buzz60
A massive asteroid that could be bigger than the Empire State Building will soar past Earth overnight Tuesday.
By NASA’s standards, it’s going to be flying close by Earth and has been declared a “potentially hazardous asteroid” by the Minor Planet Center.
But you don’t have anything to fear. When the asteroid, dubbed 2017 VR12, passes, it will be more than 900,000 miles away — roughly 3.8 times the distance between the Earth to the moon.
NASA said the rocky mass is estimated as having a diameter somewhere from 820 feet to nearly 1500 feet, meaning it could be bigger than the Empire State Building, which measures 1,250-feet in height.
Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 2017 VR12 is passing closest to Earth tonight! This is from last night. The large 900 foot diameter space rock is going to pass by us at 4X the moon’s distance. And moving faster than a bullet, 15,000mph! Video is 74 frames, 30 seconds apiece, tracking on the asteroid. #astro #astronomy #astronomia #astrophotography #astrophotos #APOD #cosmos #galaxy #galaxies #Hubble #longexposure #milkyway #nasa #nightsky #asteroid #sky #space #stars #telescope #universe
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The asteroid will be closest to Earth on Wednesday at 2:53 a.m. EST. EarthSky, an earth and space publication, recommends those in North America tuning in or using their telescopes on Tuesday at 11 p.m. EST to see the object.
To better view the asteroid, EarthSky recommends using a dark cloth or shirt over your head while using a telescope.
If you want to view the asteroid but don’t have a telescope, the Virtual Telescope Project is offering a livestreamed video of the object as it passes.
Another asteroid passed close by Earth last month on Superbowl Sunday. The rocky mass named 2002 AJ129 was also dubbed hazardous but passed the planet safely at nearly 2.6 million miles away. That’s nearly 10 times the distance between the Earth and moon.
There have been closer calls. In October, an asteroid passed by Earth by 26,000 miles. For comparison, the moon is about 239,000 miles away.