An 885-foot wide asteroid will fly by the Earth tonight, just 2.1 million miles away (that's close, as far as huge asteroids are concerned). The "potentially hazardous" asteroid is traveling at about 27,000 mph. As the Guardian noted, the fly by will happen just about a year after a smaller asteroid passed by at 17,200 miles. On the same day, an unrelated meteor exploded over Russia.
2000 EM26, as it's named, is called a "near earth" asteroid, but scientists say it has no chance of hitting the Earth during this relatively close encounter. However: you can watch the whole thing on a livestream, thanks to the Slooh observatory's online feed of their robotic telescope. Their livefeed begins at 9 p.m. Eastern, just before the asteroid is expected to make its approach.
Slooh researchers are apparently hoping that the livecast will help increase interest in research programs aimed at finding asteroids. Slooh's technical and research director Paul Coz released this kind of unsettling statement to Reuters to help promote tonight's event: "We continue to discover these potentially hazardous asteroids - sometimes only days before they make their close approaches to Earth." he added: "We need to find them before they find us!"
So if you want to know more about your impending doom — not tonight, but some night, maybe — feel free to check out the stream. Astronomer Bob Berman will be answering viewer questions.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.