With an asteroid a third of a mile wide set to soar past Earth Jan. 26, scientists and amateur astronomers alike will be looking up.
An asteroid a third of a mile wide is poised to soar past the Earth on Jan. 26 — the closest any known space rock this size is expected to fly by until 2027.
A meteor shower will peak over Bay Area skies next Sunday.
The Leonids shower could produce several displays of activity with up to 100 meteors per hour.
NASA says the space rock — known as 2014 RC — will pass closest to earth above New Zealand around 11:18 a.m. Sunday. The asteroid is estimated at roughly 60 feet wide. It was first discovered on August 31st by researchers near Tucson, according to NASA.
Ceres is the solar system’s largest asteroid — a big ball of rock and ice about 600 miles wide, orbiting the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But astronomers recently discovered that Ceres is probably behaving a bit like a comet: some of its ice is vaporizing in the heat of the Sun.
According to Oakland-based Chabot Space and Science Center astronomer Ben Burress, the asteroid missed Earth by about 17,230 miles, closer than many of earth’s satellites.
Sentinel, a massive infrared space telescope to be privately financed by the B612 Foundation, would hover in space anywhere from 30 million to 100 million miles from Earth looking for large asteroids on a trajectory for home.