An asteroid measuring 20 meters in size (60 feet) will be passing over New Zealand at about 2:18 p.m. EDT this Sunday, September 7th, based on current calculations. The asteroid, named 2014 RC, poses no immediate danger, and is expected to pass by safely. The asteroid will be about 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) away at its closest, which is about a tenth of the distance of the centre of the Earth to the moon, according to Nasa.
Asteroid 2014 RC was only discovered last week, on August 31, by the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona, and again was independently detected the following night by another telescope in Hawaii (the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on the summit of Haleakalā on Maui). Both detections were swiftly reported to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The asteroid will not be visible to the naked eye, however hobbyist astronomers might be able to catch a glimpse of the fast-moving 2014 RC through small telescopes.
It’s clear there is no chance 2014 RC will impact Earth now, but it will be back. Its orbit will eventually bring it close by again, though it is not predicted that it will be threatening.
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