A newly discovered asteroid similar to the Russian meteor that hit two weeks ago is set to pass Earth at an approximate distance of the moon's orbit Monday, Mar. 4, at 2:35 a.m. ET (7:35 a.m. UTC). The asteroid identified as 2013 EC was discovered by Arizona's Mount Lemmon Observatory Saturday.
Scientists have confirmed that the new asteroid will not hit earth or cause any damage while passing the Earth in its closest approach.
The asteroid is similar in size of the Russian meteorite that streaked into the atmosphere and exploded over the Ural Mountains in central Russia, Feb.15. The asteroid, 2013 EC, is expected to be between 10-17 meters wide.
The Russian meteor was 17 meter wide with a mass of 10,000 tons before entering Earth's atmosphere. More than a thousand people were injured as the sonic wave caused by the explosion collapsed roofs and shook buildings in the Ural region in Russia.
The asteroid, 2013 EC, traces a 246,000 miles journey to Earth, which is a little closer than the moon’s distance from Earth, at a speed of 20.20 km/ second. Distance to moon’s orbit from the Earth differs between 225,622 and 252,088 miles (363,104 to 406,696 kilometers).
Gianluca Masi from the Virtual Telescope Project recorded a live stream of the new asteroid when it was about twice the distance of the moon.
“That we are finding all these asteroids recently does not mean that we are being visited by more asteroids,” Masi said during the webcast, “just that our ability to detect them has gotten so much better. Our technology has improved a lot over the past decades.”
The webcast uploaded in YouTube can be viewed in the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVjOhRIkHeo
Although NASA-backed ground-based searches have identified majority of potentially dangerous asteroids and other alien objects that came close to earth up-to-date, scientists believe there can be surprise alien visitors like the Russian meteor that caught scientists off-guard.
"We have the technology to deflect asteroids, but we cannot do anything about the objects we don’t know exist," Ed Lu, chairman and chief executive officer of the nonprofit B612 Foundation, wrote in a blog post, after the Russian meteor explosion.
NASA scientists have made headway in detecting 95 percent of the giant objects that pass nearby Earth’s orbit and could destroy Earth if it hits the atmosphere. Researchers have confirmed that none of these identified giant objects would cruise close enough to cause damage to Earth in near future. However, when it comes to the smaller objects Earth appears more vulnerable as the scientists could identify only 30 percent of the 4,700 or so 330-footers (100 m) that come uncomfortably close at some point in their orbits, according to a report in Science on NBC News.
New revelation by NASA on the Russian meteor shows that the asteroid that sends the fire ball to Earth has been passing Earth’s atmosphere for thousands of years, but remained undetected as it was hidden in the sun's glare.
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