Don’t panic: Asteroid to pass within 40,000 miles of Earth

In yet another demonstration about how we’re all eventually going to be doomed, an asteroid discovered two days ago will pass earth at 13:44 Universal Time March 2nd at a distance of 40,000 miles, or 63,500 kms.

While that may sound a long way out, it’s only roughly twice as high as your average satellite, and closer to the Earth than the Moon.

According to Sky and Telescope, the comet, designated 2009 DD45, turned up as a 19th-magnitude blip in images taken at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. The comet is relatively small, 100 feet (30 meters) across and if they’ve miscalculated the passing, it would in theory burn up in our atmosphere.

The bad news for comet watchers is that the point of closest approach occurs over the Pacific somewhere west of Tahiti, although the comet should be visible from Hawaii, Japan and the East Coast of Australia with a telescope.

Although close, this isn’t the closest call in recent times. A small comet passed the earth by only 4,000 miles on March 31, 2004.