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(Another) Big Asteroid to Zoom By Earth This Weekend

March 6, 2013 Comments off

space.com

This image of the asteroid 2013 ET was obtained on March 4, 2013, by the Italy-based Virtual Telescope project. The asteroid is visible as a faint dot in the center of the frame.
CREDIT: Gianluca Masi/Virtual Telescope Project

A newly discovered asteroid the size of a football field will cruise through Earth’s neighborhood this weekend, just days after another space rock made an even closer approach to our planet.

The 330-foot-wide (100 meters) asteroid 2013 ET will miss Earth by 600,000 miles (960,000 kilometers) when it zips by on Saturday (March 9). The space rock flyby will come just days after the 33-foot (10 m) asteroid 2013 EC approached within 230,000 miles (370,000 km) of us early Monday (March 4).

When asteroid 2013 ET passes Earth, it will be at a range equivalent to 2.5 times the distance between the planet and the moon, making it too faint and far away for most stargazers to spot in the night sky. But the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, run by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, will webcast a live telescope view of the space rock’s flyby on Friday (March 8), beginning at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT). You can access the free broadcast here: http://www.astrowebtv.org.

There is no danger that 2013 ET will hit Earth, researchers say, just as 2013 EC posed no threat. But their flybys are slightly Read more…