A particularly big asteroid will pass by Earth particularly close on Monday night, and the encounter will be streamed live online. The flyby will be completely safe and poses no risk to anything or anyone on Earth or any of our satellites. But asteroid 2021 EQ3 will come closer to Earth than our lone natural satellite.
Sky surveys and other telescopes spot a space rock passing closer than the moon every few days, on average. Most of these asteroids are just a few meters across, likely making them no larger than a bus.
Asteroid 2021 EQ3, however, could have a diameter of up to 125 feet (38 meters), making it more like the size of a small apartment building. That’s also about the same size as the meteoroid that, creating a shock wave that blew out thousands of windows in the city of Chelyabinsk below, injuring hundreds.
2021 EQ3 will pass closest above us at roughly 9:45 p.m. PT Monday night, at a distance of around 173,000 miles (278,000 kilometers) — that’s 72% of the distance from the Earth to the moon.
This makes 2021 EQ3 the second largest object to come closer than the moon in 2021.
It’s also different thanwith a diameter around a mile. That asteroid is set to pass by on March 21 but at a distance five times farther away than the moon.
The asteroid’s size also makes it a good object to track, and the Virtual Telescope Project based in Rome will be streaming an online watch party via its website.
Follow CNET’s 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.