Watch near-Earth asteroid 2014 KH39 close fly-by today

watch-near-earth-asteroid-2014-kh39-close-fly-by-today

A 22 meters wide asteroid named "2014 KH39" will make a very close approach with the Earth on June 3, 2014, reaching a minimum distance of less than 440 000 km (1.14 lunar distances, 438 460 miles). The closest approach is expected at 20:07 UTC today.

This is a very safe distance, but still a very spectacular circumstance and the Virtual Telescope Project will offer us a live, online event sharing real-time images of the asteroid along with live commentary by their scientific staff.

The online, free session will start at 19:45 UTC. This asteroid is comparable in size to Chelyabinsk asteroid which exploded over Russia on February 15, 2013.

The orbit of 2014 KH39. Yellow shows the portion of its orbit above the plane of Earth’s orbit (grey disk); blue is below the plane. Image credit: IAU Minor Planet Center

Asteroid 2014 KH39 was discovered on May 24, 2014, by the automated Mt. Lemmon Sky Survey. It will move across the constellation Cepheus at nearly 40 233 km/h (25 000 mph, 11 km/sec) near the Little Dipper.

Near-Earth asteroid 2014 KH39 on May 31, 2014. Image credit: The Virtual Telecope Project.

A much larger asteroid 2014 HQ124 dubbed "The Beast" will fly-by Earth on June 8, 2014, at the distance of approximately 3.3 LD. 2014 HQ124 has estimated diameter of about 320 m. Slooh will hold a special online event for this fly-by on June 5th starting at 18:30 UTC.

They will broadcast the event live from Australia, featuring time lapse imagery from Slooh's newly renovated robotic observatory in Chile. The image stream will be accompanied by discussions led by Slooh host, Geoff Fox, Slooh astronomer, Bob Berman, Slooh friend, Dr. Mark Boslough, an expert on planetary impacts and global catastrophes and frequent participant on many science TV documentaries. Viewers can follow updates on the show by using the hashtag #Sloohbeast.

Video courtesy of Slooh

On June 10, Virtual Space Telescope will host their live event covering The Beast's fly-by starting at 20:00 UTC. 

Featured image credit: The Virtual Telescope Project. Edit: TW

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