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 “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