An asteroid three times the size of a football field will fly by earth tonight, and we all get to watch. The skywatching site Slooh, which allows amateur astronomers to remotely utilize robotic telescopes, will be broadcasting the event on their website beginning at 9:00 PM EST. The broadcast will also be available on Space.com.
The asteroid is named 2000 EM26 and is zipping towards our neighborhood at a brisk 27,000 MPH. Luckily, the space rock will miss us by quite a bit, 8.8 lunar distances to be exact. The average lunar distance is 238,000 miles, so 238,000 X 8.8 = we’re fine.
2000 EM26 will sail by Earth just about a year after an asteroid with a 65 foot diameter exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. Though not a direct impact, the asteroid’s close shave with humanity still managed to cause a few million dollars in damage and injure 1,500 people. More than anything, the event served as an unfortunate reminder of the solar system’s ability to throw devastating death rocks our way at any given moment.
In light of the heightened concern over asteroid impacts, scientists are discussing possible prevention tactics, including blowing up an oncoming asteroid with a nuclear bomb or hauling one into our moon’s orbit where it can’t cause any trouble.
Will you be tuning in to watch 2000 EM26’s fly by this evening? If so we’d love to hear your reactions below.