Enormous Asteroid Will Buzz by Earth Any Moment Now

earthCancel your evening plans and get out the telescope: An asteroid as wide as 13 football fields will fly by Earth tonight around 6:30 p.m. EST. It's the closest one to come near our planet since 1976 and will pass through the atmosphere between us and our moon. You won't be able to see the giant space rock with the naked eye, but any old telescope should do the trick. Even though this sounds like scary stuff (it's a matter of when we'll be hit! Not if!), scientists reassure that this hunk o' junk won't come crashing into us anytime soon. No need to call in a team of scruffy ne'er-do-well oil riggers to obliterate the thing, we'll all be just fine.

It's like, what's there to worry about? It's only a 1,300-foot-wide asteroid hurtling about 30,000 mph only 200,000 miles above us. Psssh, it's nothing.

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Despite the frightening numbers, NASA says they've been tracking this bad boy for a while now and know exactly where it's headed for the next 64 years -- a collision with Earth is highly unlikely. That said, I did hear on my shower radio this morning that if it does hit us, it could cause a massively destructive 70-foot tsunami. Don't think we need to start blowing up the life rafts just yet, but they're good to have on hold -- there are about 400 asteroids at least a half-mile wide that are sinisterly circling Earth.

It could be just me, but it feels like there's been a lot of space junk this year. Between this and the, well, space junk that came crashing down this summer, the sky has been falling more than usual. We'll all get cricks in our necks staring up into the abyss, waiting for fate and/or a plop of space poop to hit us in the face. It seems like only a matter of time.

So don't be surprised tonight when your neighbor is out on his roof with a telescope -- he's not trying to spy on you or me (our food-stained sweatsuit lounge wear isn't that interesting); he's looking up at the celestial rock buzzing our proverbial tower. Asteroids: the Maverick (and Goose) of the skies. They cannot be tamed.

Will you try and see the asteroid?

 

Photo via Donkey Hotey/Flickr

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