A “near-Earth” asteroid dubbed 2019 UG11 is will come ‘very close’ to our planet tonight (Friday, November 1). Astronomer Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project told Express.co.uk the asteroid will arrive sometime around 8.42pm GMT (4.42pm EDT). The asteroid expert expects UG11 to come within half the distance of the Moon tonight.
The news comes just three days after the asteroid was first spotted by the Mt Lemmon survey in Arizona, US.
Dr Masi said: “On November 1, 2019, at 8.42pm UTC, the just discovered asteroid UG11 will safely come very close, at about 210,000km from us just 50 percent of the average lunar distance. Almost on time for Halloween.
“Exactly at the flyby time, the Virtual Telescope Project will show it live, online.
“The streaming is scheduled for November 1, 2019, starting at 8pm UTC.”
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How to watch the asteroid flyby live tonight
Courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, you can watch the asteroid flyby here on Express.co.uk.
Dr Masi confirmed today (November 1) the live stream will go ahead as planned.
Simply tune in to the embedded video player above to watch the YouTube live stream.
The broadcast will begin at 8pm GMT (4pm EDT) tonight.
Dr Masi said: “The Virtual Telescope Project will show it to you live, online: join from your home.”
The asteroid’s flyby tonight is also being tracked by NASA’s astroid-trackers at the Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).
The US space agency estimates the rock measures somewhere in the range of 42.6ft to 92ft (13m to 28m) in diameter.
At the upper end of NASA’s estimate, the asteroid is comparable in length to a bowling lane or cricket pitch.
At the smaller end of NASA’s estimate, the asteroid is comparable in height to the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, California.
The asteroid is flying towards our planet at speeds of about 10.11km per second or 22,615mph (36,396kph).
Thankfully, there is no risk of the asteroid slamming into our planet tonight or at any time in the near future.
At its closest, the rock will approach our planet from a distance of 0.00140 astronomical units.
The distance is the equivalent of about 130,138 miles (209,437km) from Earth.
In other words, the rock will miss us by about 0.55 times the distance to the Moon.
NASA said: “As they orbit the Sun, Near-Earth Objects can occasionally approach close to Earth.
“Note that a ‘close’ passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometres.”
After tonight’s flyby, the asteroid will visit Earth again on April 17, 2020.