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NASA: Asteroid Will Pass ‘Very Close’ To Earth On Sunday

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This graphic depicts the passage of asteroid 2014 RC past Earth on Sept. 7, 2014. At time of closest approach, the space rock will be about one-tenth the distance from Earth to the moon. Times indicated on the graphic are Universal Time. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This graphic depicts the passage of asteroid 2014 RC past Earth on Sept. 7, 2014. At time of closest approach, the space rock will be about one-tenth the distance from Earth to the moon. Times indicated on the graphic are Universal Time. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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TAMPA, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — NASA announced that a small asteroid will safely pass “very close” to Earth on Sept. 7.

The asteroid, designated 2014 RC, will be roughly over New Zealand at the time of closest approach, which will be about 2:18 pm EDT based on current calculations. Astronomers estimate that the asteroid is about 60 feet in size.

On the night of Aug. 31, the asteroid was first discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Ariz., and was detected independently the next night by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope that is located in Hawaii.

The orbit of 2014 RC was confirmed by both the Catalina Sky Survey and the University of Hawaii during follow-up observations.

It will be about 25,000 miles away at the time of its closest approach to Earth. It won’t be observable to the unaided eye, but amateur astronomers with small telescopes might be able to spot the fast-moving appearance of the asteroid.

The asteroid doesn’t seem to pose any threat to Earth or satellites in space. It will prove to be an opportunity for researchers to observe and gather more information about asteroids.

 

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