While the giant asteroid — named 2000 EM26 — isn’t a threat to the Earth, it will pass close enough for a fantastic display that can be viewed live online. The website Slooh is offering live video of the event, along with commentary.
The giant asteroid will pass Earth at about 2 million miles away, and will be visible sometime close to 9 pm on Monday.
Slooh astronomer Bob Berman said the asteroid will be “a little fainter than Pluto” and look like a white dot moving against the background of the stars.
“Of course, that’s if we can find it,” he said.
Berman said the giant asteroid has an interesting history. It was first discovered in 2000, but astronomers had a hard time finding it again when they looked in 2006 and 2009.
“The real story is this — here you have a potentially hazardous asteroid, but where the heck is it? Has its orbit been perturbed by a companion body or by passing too close to the sun?” Berman said.
“If we can’t even keep track of the ones we know about – I don’t even have to finish that sentence,” he added.
“It might wake people up to the fact that maybe it’s a good idea to spend a little more of our budget in looking for these things,” Berman said.
Slooh noted that there are a few options for those who want to watch the giant asteroid live online:
“Viewers can watch live on Slooh.com or by downloading the free Slooh iPad app. The live image stream will be accompanied by discussions led by Slooh host and astronomer Bob Berman with special guests including experts and eyewitnesses from Russia, who experienced the unexpected asteroid impact that day.”
Those who have trouble accessing the Slooh site — and it has been spotty on Monday night — can watch the asteroid live online by clicking here.