A “potentially hazardous” asteroid approximately the size of three football fields will pass by the Earth on Monday, February 17, 2013 at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
The asteroid, which astronomers have dubbed 2000 EM26, is almost 900 feet in diameter, and is currently traveling at approximately 27,000 miles per hour.
In a statement, Slooh’s technical and research director, Paul Cox, said that “[w]e continue to discover these potentially hazardous asteroids — sometimes only days before they make their close approaches to Earth. Slooh’s asteroid research campaign is gathering momentum with Slooh members using the Slooh robotic telescopes to monitor this huge population of potentially hazardous space rocks. We need to find them before they find us!”
Slooh astronomer Bob Berman agreed, writing in another statement that “the ongoing threat, and the fact that biosphere-altering events remain a real if small annual possibility, suggests that discovering and tracking all [near Earth objects], as well as setting up contingency plans for deflecting them on short notice should the need arise, would be a wise use of resources.”
2000 EM26’s passing comes a little over a year after an asteroid burned through the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia. That asteroid was significantly smaller, though, measuring about 65 feet across.
Watch the asteroid fly by live via Slooh at 9 p.m. EST below.
[“Asteroid striking Earth” on Shutterstock]