Asteroid Flyby Slated for Saturday, No Risk of Earth Impact

Astronomers will be watching closely as a newly discovered asteroid will pass by Earth on Saturday in what is the most recent asteroid event in the past few weeks.

The asteroid, which is roughly the size of a football field, does not pose a risk oh hitting the Earth, but is still significant given that it was discovered only a few days ago.

The 330-foot-wide asteroid 2013 ET will come within 600,000 miles when it passes on Saturday. At that range it would pass at more than twice the distance the moon is to Earth. The event comes just days after the 33-foot asteroid 2013 EC came within 230,000 miles of Earth on March 4.

Given the distance that the asteroid will pass, Earth bound observers will not be able to see the space rock even with the help of amateur telescopes, but a space observatory in Italy indicated that it would broadcast the event over the internet.

The Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, which is run by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, will stream a live webcast of the asteroid from a telescope located at the space observatory.

Astronomers are confident that this asteroid poses no risk of impact, but stated that as more resources are dedicated to identifying near Earth objects more asteroids will be discovered, some of which could impact Earth. Some astronomers have previously estimated that the number of near-Earth asteroids is more than 1 million, but to date less than 10,000 have been identified.

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