Yesterday while you were enjoying your Presidents Day, a massive asteroid that’s about the size of three football fields flew past Earth. It came within 2.1 million miles of our little Third Stone from the Sun, which is pretty fucking close given the whole vast infiniteness of space and all. Here’s the Reuter’s report:
Slooh Space Camera tracked the approach of the asteroid as it raced past the planet at about 27,000 mph (43,000 kmph), starting at 9 p.m. EST (2 a.m. GMT, Feb. 18), the robotic telescope service said in a statement on Slooh.com.
The Dubai Astronomy Group provided Slooh photos of the part of the sky where the rock was expected to be seen, but its motion could not be picked out immediately in a live webcast against the backdrop of night-time stars.
The 295-yard (270-m) asteroid was streaking past Earth at a distance of about 2.1 million miles (3.4 million km) little more than a year after another asteroid exploded on Feb. 15, 2013, over Chelyabinsk, Russia. That asteroid injured 1,200 people following a massive shock wave that shattered windows and damaged buildings.
Now here’s what’s scary…. This asteroid making the news is just a blip on the radar compared to one that’s scheduled to make an approach on Thursday, when an even larger asteroid will come within one million of earth. Via NPR:
But a blogger known as Astro Bob points out that “a week ago on Feb. 10, the larger asteroid 2006 DP14 (2,395 feet / 730 m) made an even closer shave at 6.2 lunar distances. 2014 BR57 will pass closer yet at 4.4 times the moon’s distance on Thursday.”
Translation: The asteroid that flew past on Feb. 10 came within about 1.5 million miles; and the asteroid headed this way on Thursday will come within about 1 million miles.
A bunch of science nerds tracking asteroids made this video to give a little perspective of how close this thing got to us:
Hug your loved ones a little bit closer tonight. Only Bruce Willis and the huge balls of his brave mining team can save us now. Cue Aerosmith:
[Pic via NASA]