Asteroid the size of a house to pass Earth tonight

Oct 12, 2012
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Tonight, an asteroid the size of a house - dubbed 2012 TC4 by NASA - will pass by Earth, coming in at one-quarter of the distance between the moon and this rock we call home (aka, 59,000 miles). The 2012 TC4 asteroid was discovered on October 4th, and scientists say it does not pose a risk. You can watch the asteroid fly by the old-fashioned way using a small telescope, or you can track it online and watch a live video feed of its flyby.

The Slooh Space Camera will provide free live coverage of the asteroid's passing at its Slooh website. While you wait, you can track 2012 TC4's progress via the Near Earth Object Office's Twitter feed, which is regularly updated. If Twitter isn't your thing, you can also download NASA's Asteroid Watch widget, which keeps track of asteroids that near Earth.

Sadly, 2012 TC4 isn't large enough for you to see with the naked eye. If you're keen on breaking out the ol' telescope, keep in mind that you'll likely only see a dot much like the one in the photo above. The asteroid has a magnitude of 13.7, which in layman's terms means its about 1,500 times fainter than it would need to be for your eyes to detect it.

This one of several large comets that have passed by recently, which include the 2012 LZ1 asteroid that passed by in June. It's supposed to pass by at 12:57am due south. The live stream coverage is provided from the Canary Islands observatory.

[via PHYS]


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