Asteroid To Make Very Close Pass To Earth Overnight

By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer

BOSTON (CBS) — It’s stories like these that really seem to put our lives and our world in perspective. In case you hadn’t heard, an asteroid the size of a house is making a very close pass by our planet tonight.

asteroid october 2017 Asteroid To Make Very Close Pass To Earth Overnight

(WBZ graphic)

Asteroid “2012 TC4” is going to zip by early Thursday morning about 30,000 miles from the Earth’s surface. While this may sound like a large distance, in the scope of our planet and the solar system, 30,000 miles is nearly nothing. It is just 1/8th the distance from the Earth to the Moon. It is just a few thousand miles farther than where our weather satellites orbit. It is so close, that Earth’s gravity will cause a major shift in the asteroid’s trajectory as it exits.

Let me be clear. . . there is NO CHANCE of the asteroid hitting tonight.

Nor will you not be able to see it with the naked eye. You would need to be a highly skilled astronomer with an 8”+ telescope to catch any glimpse of 2012 TC4.

Maybe you remember a story back in February of 2013 when a 17 meter-wide meteorite exploded in the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia? Well this asteroid is likely to be about the same size (between 10-30 meters) but thankfully, unlike the “Chelyabinsk fireball,” astronomers have a bead on this one and are certain of a near miss.

If you would like to catch a glimpse, you can view the flyby online at Space.com courtesy of Slooh. The show starts at 8 pm tonight with the closest pass just a few hours later.

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ

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