On June 8, asteroid 2014 HQ124 will pass by Earth at three times the distance of the moon. It poses no risk of hitting us. Good thing, because it's 352 meters (1,100 feet) long!
Researchers at NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) first detected the behemoth on April 23. It is traveling 17 times faster than a speeding bullet at 14 km/s (31,000 mph) and is anywhere from 10-20 times larger than the Chelyabinsk asteroid. If it were to impact Earth (again, don’t worry, it won’t) the impact would be on par with an H-bomb, releasing many megatons of energy.
Of course, it’s a little disconcerting that an asteroid large enough to inflict that much damage was only discovered about six weeks ago. There's also not a hell of a lot we could do about it, even if it were on course to hit us. In order to try and minimize the risk of our certain doom from asteroids, NASA and Slooh have teamed up for the Asteroid Grand Challenge, which empowers citizen scientists to help discover and monitor any asteroids headed our way.
The folks over at the Slooh Space Camera are giving a preview of Sunday’s view in a live webcast.
Check out the preview of the asteroid here:
Trajectory of the 2014 HQ124:
Rewind of the asteroid 2014 KH39 that made a close approach on June 3:
[Hat tip: Megan Gannon, Space.com]