If you’re one of the skygazers, today’s your lucky day because a newly discovered asteroid will zip by Earth today and you can follow it’s celestial journey online, live.
The asteroid 2018 VX1 isn’t big enough to cause concern to Earth (remember Armageddon?) as it’s merely 26 feet to 59 feet wide (or size of a small truck) and it won’t really fly by within a striking distance. There’s no risk of the asteroid crashing into Earth – the space rock will fly by within about 236,000 miles away from planet Earth or a smidge closer than the distance of the moon from the Earth.
The reason, however, the flyby is a must watch (Virtual Telescope Project will let you track it live starting at 1pm EST, watch it here) is this – 2018 VX1 was discovered just last week on Nov. 4. and it takes about 1.6 Earth years to complete one lap around the sun. So, if you have time to spot this baby in the sky, do so.
Note that two other newly discovered asteroids – 2018 VS1 and 2018 VR1 and both tad bigger than 2018 VX1 – will also fly by Earth on Saturday but will be doing so at a farther distance from Earth – about 800,000 miles and 3,1 million miles respectively.
The discovery of 2018 VX1 and its siblings is significant because it suggests there’s so little we know about the tens of thousands (if not millions) of asteroids that zip by Earth everyday. However, don’t panic because space scientists claim they’ve spotted almost all the asteroids (aka mountain-size near earth objects) that are capable of causing cataclysmic damage to our planet and they’re not posing any threat anytime soon. You read that right. This is neither the Chicxulub asteroid that supposedly wiped out the dinosaurs, nor the Tunguska asteroid whose devastating impact in 1908 can still be seen today. So get ready to say hi to your space buddy, or go out and enjoy your weekend. As I’m doing.