A newly found asteroid, 2013 EC, can be seen in the lower left corner of the red box in this image.
By Nancy Atkinson
A newly found asteroid will pass by Earth at about the distance of the moon's orbit, with its closest approach coming at 2:35 a.m. ET (7:35 a.m. UTC) Monday.
Named 2013 EC, the asteroid is roughly the size of the space rock that exploded over Russia two and a half weeks ago, measuring somewhere between 10 and 17 meters (33 to 55 feet) wide. The asteroid that sparked the Russian meteor is estimated to have been about 17 meters wide when it entered Earth’s atmosphere.
2013 EC was discovered by the Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona on Saturday. There is no chance this asteroid will hit Earth.
The asteroid is due to come within 246,000 miles (396,000 kilometers) from Earth. In comparison, the moon's distance from Earth varies between 225,622 and 252,088 miles (363,104 to 406,696 kilometers).
Gianluca Masi from the Virtual Telescope Project had a live view of the asteroid when it was about twice the distance of the moon, and a replay of that webcast is available below. (The event starts at about the 38-minute mark in the YouTube video.)
"That we are finding all these asteroids recently does not mean that we are being visited by more asteroids," Masi said during the webcast, “just that our ability to detect them has gotten so much better. Our technology has improved a lot over the past decades."
Gianluca Masi from the Virtual Telescope Project discusses the asteroid 2013 EC during a Google+ Hangout. The commentary begins at about the 38-minute mark in this raw video.
More about asteroids:
- Russian meteor lurked for millennia, experts say
- Asteroid 2012 DA14 tracked on radar
- NBCNews.com archive on asteroids
More info about 2013 EC on the JPL Small Body Database.
This report was originally published on Universe Today as "Newly Found Asteroid to Pass Within Moon’s Orbit on March 4, 2013." Copyright 2013 Universe Today. Reprinted with permission.