Head’s up, Earthlings!
2000 EM26, a Near-Earth-Asteroid (NEA) the size of 3 football fields will speed by our blue marble at over 27,000mph on its closest approach. The PHA (Potentially Hazardous Asteroid) is 885ft in diamater, passing by us at 8.8 lunar distances from the Earth TONIGHT, like…RIGHT NOW.
As always with these near-close-encounters (well, near 2 million miles), the astronomers operating the Slooh Space Camera/Telescope are currently running a live webcast available to everyone.
Although this is another near-miss for Spaceship Earth, do not mistake it, the significance of this event is beyond serendipitous, as we are amidst the one year anniversary of (above) the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia.
"On a practical level, a previously-unknown, undiscovered asteroid seems to hit our planet and cause damage or injury once a century or so, as we witnessed on June 20, 1908, and February 15, 2013. Every few centuries, an even more massive asteroid strikes us—fortunately usually impacting in an ocean or wasteland such an Antarctica. But the ongoing threat, and the fact that biosphere-altering events remain a real if small annual possibility, suggests that discovering and tracking all NEOs, as well as setting up contingency plans for deflecting them on short notice should the need arise, would be a wise use of resources."
- Bob Berman, Slooh Technical Director
"We continue to discover these potentially hazardous asteroids—sometimes only days before they make their close approaches to Earth. Slooh’s asteroid research campaign is gathering momentum with Slooh members using the Slooh robotic telescopes to monitor this huge population of potentially hazardous space rocks. We need to find them before they find us!"
- Paul Cox, Slooh Technical and Research Director
One year ago, on February 15, 2013, the world witnessed two amazing events—one expected and the other not. Astronomers anticipated the arrival of super-close asteroid 2012 DA14—a 40,000 ton space rock, 98 ft (30 m) in diameter, due to miss Earth by a measly 17,200 miles (27,680 km)—closer even than our geosynchronous satellites. In fact, NEA 2012 DA14 was the closest object of that size to whiz past Earth in our lifetimes. Slooh successfully tracked DA14 live from its Canary Island observatory using special imaging techniques (see highlight under video section below).
On that same day, however, something else unexpectedly tore through the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia, damaging thousands of houses, breaking innumerable windows, and causing injuries from broken glass. This object, later discovered to be an asteroid as well, was 65 ft (20 m) in diameter and exploded 18 miles above Siberia releasing the equivalent energy of more than 20 plus atomic bombs (approximately 460 kilotons of TNT). While analysts continue to debate the significance of the event, many believe the residents of Chelyabinsk were extremely lucky to escape this celestial encounter with no loss of life. To commemorate the February 15th event, the Russian government announced that ten gold medals for winners on February 15th at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics will be embedded with Chelyabinsk meteor fragments.
Broadcasting live, watch now.