Earth's Close Encounter...
A giant asteroid will fly by Earth during the next few days, and we can watch this event live via our computers.
This near Earth asteroid named 4179 Toutatis, is approximately 3 miles wide, and will pass close to 4.3 million miles of Earth Wednesday morning December, 12. Toutatis is too far away for any impact threat yet near enough to see through professional telescopes, which will track The asteroid trajectory. The online Slooh Space Camera and Virtual Telescope Project, will both stream live, free footage of the asteroid.
Slooh's webcast is from a telescope in the Canary Islands beginning at 3 p.m. EST today (Dec. 11). Another showing will follow at 10 p.m. EST tonight, with footage from Arizona. You can watch them at Slooh's website: http://www.slooh.com
Both will feature commentary from Slooh president Patrick Paolucci and Astronomy Magazine columnist Bob Berman. "The asteroid will appear as an obvious streak or a moving time-lapse dot across the as a tiny pointlike object, while Earth's spin makes the background stars whiz by as streaks," Berman added. "Both methods will make the asteroid's speedy orbital motion obvious as it passes us in space."
The Virtual Telescope Project — which is presented by Gianluca Masi of Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy — will offer a free webcast Thursday, December 13 at 3 p.m. EST, complete with commentary from astrophysicists.
Watch the video stream here: http://www.virtualtelescope.eu/webtv/
Toutatis would cause catastrophic damage if it ever did hit into Earth. Scientists think a collision by anything 0.6 miles (1 km) wide could have global consequences, most likely by altering the world's climate for many years to come. For comparison, the asteroid thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was an estimated 6 miles (10 km) across.
Information provided by SPACE.com senior writer Mike Wall and on Yahoo.com.
Exciting stuff! Go and watch. Then come back and tell me -- what your thoughts are on near miss objects that could possibly impact Earth?