Tags: 2014 | dx110 | asteroid | passes | earth | moon

2014 DX110 Asteroid, 90 Feet Wide, Passes Between Earth and Moon

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 05:46 PM

By Ken Mandel

Astronomers are calling the close approach of the 90-foot 2014 DX110 asteroid a "non-event" as the large rock passes between Earth and the moon on Wednesday.

2014 DX110 has received particular attention for its "close approach," but NASA is telling the public not to worry, USA Today says. The closest the asteroid will reach is 217,000 miles away from the Earth, or "9/10th of the distance to the moon," Lindley Johnson of NASA's Planetary Science Division in Washington D.C. told USA Today. It will be that close for about seven hours before flying back into space.

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"In the last year, 21 small asteroids ranging in size from 1 to 30 meters have come closer to Earth than this," Johnson told USA Today. "The close approach of 2014 DX110 is really a non-event in our eyes."

The name of the asteroid is a product of naming conventions used by the Minor Planet Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. "DX110" simply means it was the 110th asteroid discovered in 2014, and DX refers to the portion of the year in which it was discovered, according to USA Today.

The asteroid was scheduled to be viewable at 4 p.m. EST Wednesday, and two Web-based viewing services, the online Slooh observatory and the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy are attempting to offer free live views during the flyby. Both webcasts are also available on Space.com, beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST.

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