A two-thousand foot-long asteroid has been cruising relatively close to earth all day today. Scientists say it’s about 1.1 million miles away.
Smaller asteroids come close to the earth about once per week. This particular asteroid hasn’t been this close in at least 400 years.
“It’s cool that people get excited about it. If you had a relatively small telescope, you could go out tonight and if you’re looking in the right spot you’d see a faint star moving through your field of view in the telescope. That’s one way to get connected to the cosmos,” said Dr. Steve Lee, a space scientist at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Pictures of a meteorite that made its way to earth are on display at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Though we’ll never get to see the one that’s passing today this close up, Dr. Lee says it’s a good research opportunity.
“We like to know what the rest of the solar system is made of. Asteroids are sort of the building blocks left over from the creation of the planets. The more we know about them, the more we know about how the solar system originated. So, it’s a good chance to sort of fill in some of those blanks,” Lee explained.
The asteroid was visible in the early hours this morning, and should be visible again tonight near the Draco constellation in the northern sky.