Tonight, on Saturday 14th, a massive asteroid will whizz so close next to Earth that amateur astronomers can watch it with their home telescopes. The space rock, known as Asteroid 2000 QW7, will fly by Earth at about 3 million miles away. That means there’s no threat to our planet.
According to astronomers, Asteroid 2000 QW7 measures between 300 and 600 meters in diameter. While on an astronomical scale, 3 million miles is a “close approach,” that distance is enough so that there’s no risk of a possible collision with our planet.
Scientists will keep an eye on Asteroid 2000 QW7 to estimate its future trajectories better to see if there is any chance of a future impact with Earth. Besides, amateur astronomers can also observe the massive asteroid as it flies by Earth with their home telescopes. “Around the fly-by time, the asteroid will be about 8 degrees south-south-west of the bright star Fomalhaut,” explained Gianluca Masi, the Scientific Director at The Virtual Telescope, for Salon.
Massive Asteroid Will Fly By Earth Today
According to scientists, Asteroid 2000 QW7 will pass next to Earth today, Saturday 14th, at around 7:45 PM East Coast time. For amateur astronomers out there who want to observe the massive asteroid, note that you’ll need to use a 250-mm telescope. Less powerful telescopes might also spot the space rock if combined with sensitive imaging devices to follow the asteroid’s movements through the stars in the night sky.
As per the B612 Foundation, an organization that struggles to defend the Earth from potential asteroid impacts, Asteroid 2000 QW7 is not a threat to life on our planet at the moment. However, it might become a danger in the future because of its changing trajectory.
“These asteroids have been well observed — one since 2000 and the other since 2010—and their orbits are very well known. Both of these asteroids are passing at about 14 lunar distances from the Earth, or about 3.5 million miles away, but small asteroids pass by Earth this close all the time,” explained Lindley Johnson from the Planetary Defense Coordination Office at NASA.