A meteoric ball of fire dubbed the Beast asteroid will luckily safely pass Earth this Sunday. A preview of the asteroid can be seen on Saturday afternoon.
Those who want to get a glimpse at the monstrous asteroid 2014 HQ124, which is about 1,100 feet (352 meters) across, can watch online. The Slooh community observatory will be hosting a live online webcast from 2:30 pm EST at www.slooh.com. It can also be seen at www.space.com.
Slooh astronomer Bob Berman will be in talks with host Geoff Fox and asteroid impact expert Mark Boslough during the webcast to discuss some of the details of the asteroid.
NASA’s Asteroid Watch program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California said the asteroid will miss earth.
Others say people should be thankful the asteroid won’t hit Earth. Some observers have unofficially nicknamed it the Beast.
When the Beast does pass earth, it will be a mere 777,000 miles away, which is roughly about 3.25 times the distance between the Earth and the moon. Although researchers have said there is no chance it’s going to hit Earth, if it did there would be major damage. Traveling at a speed that is 17 times faster than a shot from a high-speed rifle, the Beast asteroid will be at its closest point to earth on Sunday at 1:56 am EST.
Slooh astronomer said it is “disconcerting” that such a large asteroid is flying so close to earth. Especially since its existence wasn’t known about two months ago.
“HQ124 is at least 10 times bigger, and possibly 20 times, than the asteroid that injured a thousand people last year in Chelyabinsk, Siberia,” Berman said in a statement. “If it were [to] impact us, the energy released would be measured not in kilotons like the atomic bombs that ended World War II, but in H-bomb type megatons.”
NASA got together with Slooh to form a partnership to find killer asteroids. Their goal to is to watch more of the sky with the help of citizen scientists to find objects in the sky like the Beast asteroid. By using Slooh telescope data people can monitor and find more near-Earth objects. It’s part of the NASA Asteroid Grand Challenge.
By NASA’s estimate, most large asteroids have been found, but the smaller ones are harder to find. If the Beast asteroid hit Earth, it could have unleashed global destruction similar to the force of atomic bombs.
[Image via Shutterstock]