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Massive 'Potentially Hazardous' Asteroid To Fly Over Earth (And You Can Watch Live On The Internet)

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In this Feb. 15, 2013 file photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru, shows a meteorite contrail over the Ural Mountains
In this Feb. 15, 2013 file photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru, shows a meteorite contrail over the Ural Mountains

An asteroid three times the size of a football pitch travelling at 27,000 miles per hour is about to pass close to Earth.

And you can watch live on the internet.

Astronomers announced that the 'potentially hazardous' object - known as (NEA), 2000 EM26 - will come within about 0.018 AU of the Earth on 17 February.

Now - while 0.018 AU (a standard Astronomical Unit, or the distance to the sun) might sound small, it's actually pretty far, being more than 2.6 million kilometers.

So, no - there's no reason to panic. Instead you can sit back and watch the massive rock pass overhead, thanks to the cameras on Slooh.com (or its iPad app) which are trained to the right part of the sky above the Canary Islands.

Slooh routinely tracks dangerous asteroids which have the potential to cause significant damage if they hit the Earth.

Their work has the side aim of increasing awareness about the dangers of asteroids, and recruiting members of the public to help by scanning the skies with Slooh robotic telescopes.

The pass of 2000 EM26 comes almost exactly a year after an asteroid 30 metres in diameter exploded above Chelyabinsk in Russia, injuring more than 1,000 people.

Slooh's technical and research director, Paul Cox told Phys.org:

"We continue to discover these potentially hazardous asteroids—sometimes only days before they make their close approaches to Earth. Slooh's asteroid research campaign is gathering momentum with Slooh members using the Slooh robotic telescopes to monitor this huge population of potentially hazardous space rocks. We need to find them before they find us!"

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