Newly-discovered asteroid to zoom past Earth Sunday
Illustration of Earth as seen from the moon. (AP / NASA Goddard/Rex)
Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
Published Thursday, September 4, 2014 11:26AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 4, 2014 12:02PM EDT
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A newly discovered asteroid will buzz Earth this weekend.
At closest approach Sunday, the 18-metre rock will pass a safe 40,000 kilometres over New Zealand. That's about one-tenth the distance between here and the moon. It's also beyond the orbit of our highest communication and weather satellites.
NASA says this latest near-Earth asteroid -- called 20214 RC (R-C) -- poses no threat to either the home planet or orbiting spacecraft. A space rock of about the same size blasted through the atmosphere over Russia's Ural Mountains in 2013, causing considerable damage.
Astronomers in Arizona detected 2014 RC the night of Aug. 31.
Stargazers will need telescopes to see Sunday's flyby. If you miss it, don't worry. It will be back in the neighbourhood again one day.