City Block-Sized Asteroid 2012 LZ1 Zooms by Earth
The asteroid 2012 LZ1, which astronomers think is about 1,650 feet (500 meters) wide, flew by Thursday night.
An asteroid the size of a city block flew by Earth Thursday and could be watched online through a space camera.
The near-Earth asteroid 2012 LZ1, which astronomers think is about 1,650 feet (500 meters) wide, passed Earth way beyond the orbit of the moon, according to space.com. There was no danger of "Armageddon" however--the mega-space rock only came close enough to be caught on camera.
The Slooh Space camera, an online skywatching service, had a telescope on the Canary Islands on 2012 LZ1 and streamed the footage live, beginning at 5 p.m PDT. You can watch the asteroid flying by on Slooh's website, by clicking here.
The 2012 LZ1 made its presence known to astronomers just this week as it was discovered on the night of June 10-11 by Rob McNaught and his colleagues. They were looking through the Uppsala Schmidt telescope at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.
Because of its size and proximity to Earth, 2012 LZ1 qualifies as a potentially hazardous asteroid. Near-Earth asteroids generally have to be at least 500 feet wide and come within 4.65 million miles of our planet to be classified as potentially hazardous, according to NASA.
Local Old Town Sidewalk Astronomer Morris Jones wasn't too impressed with the asteroid. He said such pass-bys are a regular occurrence, and he wasn't aware that LZ1 even existed.
2012 LZ1 is roughly the same size as asteroid 2005 YU55, which made a much-anticipated flyby of Earth in November. But 2005 YU55 gave our planet a much closer shave, coming within 202,000 miles (325,000 km) of us on the evening of Nov. 8. A space rock as big as 2005 YU55 hadn't come so close to Earth since 1976, researchers said.
To date, astronomers have identified close to 9,000 near-Earth asteroids, but they believe more are waiting to be found.