Big "scary" asteroid flying between Earth and Moon tonight, 5/15/18

An asteroid about the size of a New York City block is flying between the Earth and the Moon today. How close, though?

Big "scary" asteroid flying between Earth and Moon tonight, 5/15/18
Pixabay Images; not the actual asteroid (thankfully) but an artist's rendering.

An asteroid about the size of a New York City block is flying between the Earth (you may have heard of it) and the Moon (you may have seen it) at about 6pm EST today. That's "pretty damn close" by aeronautic standards. 


The moon is about 252,088 miles (405,696 km) away — so about 30 planet Earth's could fit between here and the moon. The asteroid will pass at almost the exact halfway point between the moon and here, about 126,000 miles away. You won't be able to see it with the naked eye. But a hobbyist telescope, pointed in the right direction at the right time, should be able to see it. 

The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs was 6 miles wide, so in the grand scheme of things this isn't a world-ending space rock — it's worth reiterating that asteroid happened to hit at the "worst possible" place it could have, as only 13% of the land on Earth could create that much dust which is what ultimately wiped out the dinosaurs by effectively forcing a nuclear winter. But while the asteroid that's zinging past us today is only 900ft long, it's still too close for comfort. Consider this: the meteorite that created the Barringer Crater was only 160ft long and created this: 

c/o Fossweb.com

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