Large asteroid will hurtle past Earth tonight

4:22 PM, Jun 14, 2012   |    comments
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By Charlie Szold, USA TODAY  

Cosmically speaking, Earth is about to get a surprise buzz from a nearby asteroid.

The innocuously named 2012 LZ1 will hurtle by Earth tonight 3.35 million miles away, about 14 times farther away than the moon.

The asteroid is between 1,000 and 2,300 feet wide, roughly two to four times the size of the Washington Monument. That's big enough to do serious damage, but not big enough to end life on earth as we know it.

The gigantic space rock was discovered just a few days ago by Rob McNaught at an observatory in Australia and is considered to be "near-Earth" because it is more than 500 feet wide and within 4.65 million miles of Earth.

If you'd like to watch this cosmically close kiss, Slooh's Space Camera will be livestreaming the asteroids approach starting at 8 p.m. ET.

Scientists believe they have tracked down 93% of the estimated 25,000 asteroids large enough to devastate the planet.

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