Large Asteroid nearly missing Earth can be seen in your backyard Monday night

Most asteroids make the news because they are either passing dangerously close to Earth or are really large. In this case, it's a little of both. This two thousand foot wide rock will be screaming past Earth over the next few days. But because of how big it is, we will be able to see it from our own backyards. The object known as 2004BL86 will pass about 745,000 miles away from Earth, roughly 3 times the distance to the moon. This may not sound like a close call, but in astronomy distances, that's like missing us by a finger nail. Use the distance between Earth and Mars as an example… we are considered "closely neighboring planets" and Mars is 145 lunar distances away… roughly 50 times farther than this asteroid.

 

 

No reason to be alarmed, hundreds of these foreign objects pass by us every year with no one thinking twice, but this one is unusual because of how big it is. In most cases, these balls of rock are no bigger than a minivan, but this one is about 5 times the size of the IDS tower in downtown Minneapolis. This is the main reason why we will be able to see it from Earth. Now, the chances of seeing it with your eyes are pretty slim, and next to impossible with city lights around, but even a cheapy telescope or a pretty strong pair of binoculars would do the trick in any light… providing there aren't any clouds of course.

 

Now, you will want to look to the East near the Cancer constellation especially during the evening hours Monday. The best way to find it is to find Jupiter first, which will be by far the brightest star in the area. Look up and to the left from there and you should be able to find it. Of course, you can always consult the chart above. Happy hunting!


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