Tags: asteroid | 2013 | ne19 | earth

Asteroid 2013 NE19 Will Zip Past Earth Tuesday at 18 Miles Per Second

Tuesday, 23 Jul 2013 07:00 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Asteroid 2013 NE19, a 200- to 400-foot-long space rock, was discovered by the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii less than a week ago. It will fly by Earth at 18 miles per second Tuesday.

Travelling at 64,000 miles per hour, which is almost 18 miles per second, the asteroid would cause significant damage if it hit the Earth because of its size and speed, the Los Angeles Times reported. But it won’t, at least this time around.

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Asteroid 2013 NE19 will miss the Earth by 2.6 million miles.

Despite the distance between the speeding space rock and the earth, NASA considers it a near-Earth object (NEO), as it does for any such space object that comes within 28 million miles of our planet, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Amateur astronomers won't be able to view the Asteroid 2013 NE19, due to the asteroid's distance from our planet and the speed at which it is travelling; however, sky gazers can log onto Slooh.com, which will be airing a live feed of the asteroid online beginning at 6 p.m. PST via its Slooh Space Camera.

NASA announced that 10,000 near-Earth objects have been discovered thus far as of the end of June.

Asteroid hunters, meanwhile, continue to spot new space rocks at a rate of three per day, according to Don Yeomans, the head of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Los Angeles Times reported.

This isn't the first asteroid to make headlines this year.

In March, the 2013 ET, an asteroid equivalent in size to a city block, passed our planet at a distance of 600,000 miles, while just one week earlier, a much smaller 33-foot-wide asteroid, named 2013 EC, zipped by only 230,000 miles away.

In mid-February, the 2012 DA14, which was large enough to destroy a major U.S. city, passed the Earth's surface by only about 17,000 miles, which is 5,000 miles below the altitude that most major weather and communications satellites operate.

So are asteroid fly-bys increasing or are we just paying more attention to them?

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"No matter how many asteroids approach us, even within a few days, the interest for these intriguing cosmic objects is always very high," said Gianluca Masi, an astrophysicist who founded Virtual Telescope.

"I believe that these close approaches should be used to increase in the public a correct perception of the real situation, to avoid confusion and false alarms," he told Space.com.

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