Asteroid Florence will be making its closest flyby to Earth in over a century on Friday morning. How and where can you view this gigantic asteroid, and what can you expect when it passes by Earth?
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Asteroid Florence is the largest object to make such a close encounter with our planet since NASA’s Near Earth Observations program launched in 1998. It measures about 2.7 miles wide, and while that makes it extremely large for a near-Earth object, it shouldn’t be any threat to anybody’s safety, as it will pass within 4.4 million miles of our planet later this morning, at approximately 8:05 a.m. CNN noted that this distance makes for a “pretty close pass,” considering how expansive the universe is, but even then, there’s no need for anyone to panic or fear the worst.
The proximity of Asteroid Florence to our planet also means it should be quite easy for skygazers to view, even for those who only own “modest” backyard telescopes, Sky & Telescope wrote. The publication wrote that the asteroid had reached peaked brightness on Thursday, registering a magnitude of 8.7, and while Thursday night has already come and gone, Florence is expected to remain almost as bright for “several days before and afterward.”
According to AL.com, the evening of Saturday, September 2 would be an ideal time to check Asteroid Florence out. At around 8 p.m. EDT that day, the asteroid will be passing through the head of constellation Delphinus, as it continues on its northbound path.
Although several publications have suggested that people with basic skygazing equipment could have a chance at seeing Florence make its flyby, a report from EarthSky offers more suggestions on the right type of equipment to use, and what else to expect from the asteroid. Viewers are advised to use a telescope with a diameter of five inches or larger, and “observe in the right direction,” as it might be hard to detect Florence’s slow movement due to its distance. Asteroid Florence is said to be traveling at a speed of about 30.266 miles per hour, which makes it advisable to keep an eye on the object for about five to 10 minutes “to detect its movement across the stars.”
Those who don’t have a telescope have several options for viewing Asteroid Florence’s flyby, including The Virtual Telescope Project’s live stream, which launched on Thursday and is still available as of this writing. Likewise, the Slooh online observatory also kicked off its own live stream on Thursday night, offering viewers a chance to track the asteroid from the comforts of home.
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