TORONTO – Tell Bruce Willis to stand down: The asteroid heading toward Earth isn’t a threat to life on our planet.
On Sunday, Sept. 7, around 2:18 p.m ET, Asteroid 2014 RC will safely glide by Earth at a distance of roughly 40,000 km – about one-tenth the distance from the centre of Earth to the moon.
It may not sound close. And it isn’t quite close enough to be a threat.
But in a universe that uses light-years to calculate distances, it’s a hair’s breadth.
The asteroid will pass below Earth’s geosynchronous satellites, which orbit about 36,000 km above our planet. NASA said that it doesn’t believe that it poses any threat to satellites.
Though the rocky bit of space debris is making a close pass, you won’t be able to see it with the naked eye: it’s only 20 metres in diameter, about the size of a house. But anyone with a small telescope (4″ or larger) will be able to catch it.
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Asteroid 2014 RC was discovered on Aug. 31 by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona.
The close pass is a great opportunity for scientists to further study the asteroid and refine calculations of further passes.