Asteroid on Course for Close Encounter With Earth

By Paul Shin

Mar 5, 2014 3:05am

A recently discovered asteroid is on course to have a close encounter with the Earth today, coming closer than our Moon’s orbit.

The asteroid, dubbed 2014 DX 110, is about 100 feet in diameter and is set to come within 216,000 miles of Earth — a close shave by astronomical standards, considering our Moon orbits the Earth at a distance of about 238,900 miles.

While an object that size may not seem imposing, if it were to strike the Earth, it would release a devastating amount of energy greater than a nuclear weapon. The infamous asteroid that exploded over Tunguska, Siberia, on June 30, 1908, has been estimated to be about 30 meters to 60 meters — 100 feet to 200 feet — in diameter.

The closest approach of DX 110 will be at 4:07 p.m. ET today. And while it may not be visible to the naked eye, stargazers can follow its progress across the heavens virtually.

This won’t be DX 110′s only close shave with Earth. The asteroid has a one in 10,000 chance of colliding with the Earth on March 4, 2046, according to NASA’s Earth impact risk summary.

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