Earth is in for a close call this week. Well, not too close.
A massive asteroid nicknamed "The Beast" is set to fly by Earth on Sunday, June 8, shortly before 2 a.m. EDT at a distance of three lunar lengths, at least 716,500 miles from Earth.
"What’s disconcerting is that a rocky/metallic body this large, and coming so very close, should have only first been discovered this soon before its nearest approach," astronomer Bob Berman of the Slooh Space Camera said in a statement, according to National Geographic. (The privately run robotic telescope service will broadcast a preview of the flyby Thursday.)
"HQ124 is at least 10 times bigger, and possibly 20 times [bigger], than the asteroid that injured a thousand people last year in Chelyabinsk, Siberia," Berman continued. "If it were [to] impact us, the energy released would be measured not in kilotons like the atomic bombs that ended World War II, but in H-bomb type megatons."
NASA recently partnered with Slooh to get more citizen scientists involved in the search for near-Earth asteroids. While larger space rocks are usually spotted before they sail by Earth, smaller asteroid and debris have often gone unnoticed.
The Slooh Space Camera will broadcast the asteroid's flyby from Australia, starting with a "preview" on Thursday, June 5 at 2:30 p.m. EDT. The live feed will include time-lapse imagery from the robotic telescope service's observatory in Chile.
Watch "The Beast" broadcast in the video above.
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