Asteroid 2012 TC4 will give astronomers and stargazers a sight to see as it passes by Earth on October 12, 2012, passing at a distance closer than the moon.
Asteroid 2012 TC4 will pass by Earth approximately 59,000 miles (88,000 kilometers) away from the planet. The house sized space rock was first discovered by Pan-STARRS observatory in Hawaii on October 4, 2012 with the current size of the asteroid being estimated at 56 feet wide (17 meters), according to NBC News.
Even though the path of asteroid 2012 TC4 will come within one-fourth the distance between the Earth and the moon, NASA assures that there is no danger of impact from the large space rock.
Live webcasts of the event are being provided online through the Virtual Telescope Project and Slooh Space Camera. Astrophysicist Gianluca Masi of The Virtual Telescope Project in Italy will be providing a commentary during the live webcast of the asteroid.
In an email to Space.com, Masi states that “asteroids are very intriguing bodies, strongly connected with the origin of our solar system.When an asteroid approaches our planet, we have good chances to study them better, especially small ones.”
Slooh President Patrick Paolucci also released a statement about the observatory’s live feed, saying:
“One of our missions at Slooh is to provide the public with free, live coverage of amazing celestial events. We will be tracking asteroid 2012 TC4 live from our observatory located on the Canary Islands – off the coast of West Africa.”
The asteroid will pass by Earth at 12:57 am on Friday morning, and Space Weather notes that asteroid 2012 TC4 “will be close enough to photograph through backyard telescopes as it brightens to approximately 14th magnitude.”
NASA’s Asteroid Watch scientists stated this week, “We get passes between Earth-moon fairly frequently actually, although usually smaller space rocks.”