Discovered just four days ago on July 15th, an asteroid estimated to be the size of a football field will make its closest approach to Earth on Monday, July 22nd. Discovered by PanSTARRS in Haleakala, HI, NEO (nearEarth Object) 2013 NE19 will appear live on Slooh.com on July 22nd at 6 PM PDT / 9 PM EDT / 01:00 UTC (7/23) International times here: http://goo.gl/B5Loj. The free show will feature live narration by Slooh host Paul Cox and other astronomy experts. Viewers can watch live on their PC or mobile device, or by downloading the free Slooh iPad app in the iTunes store.
The asteroid is estimated to be between 59m (194 feet) 130m (426 feet), and will pass 11 times the Moon’s distance from our planet. At its closest approach on July 22nd, 2013 NE19 will shine at a faint 20th magnitude and be traveling at a brisk 64,000 MPH (28.6 km/s) about the same speed as Earth itself, thus making it extremely difficult to image. “Slooh’s imaging technology and high altitude location in the Canary Islands are well suited for a tricky object like this, which may be impossible for garden variety setups to capture”, says Michael Paolucci, CEO of Slooh.
“These asteroids are the scariest,” says Cox. “While we have discovered more than 10,000 near Earth asteroids and comets since 1898, there are still many more roaming around the solar system undetected. In fact, by some accounts, there could be more than a million asteroids in the 30m (100 feet) range, which alone could cause significant damage to major populated areas.”
NASA is working to address the issue, recently putting out a request for information which stated, “NASA wants to expand upon current NEA observation efforts through the use of innovative methods such as crowd sourcing……….to increase the resources for tackling the planetary defense problem and to broaden participation“. Slooh supports NASA’s mission and is seeking individuals interested in joining existing Slooh members to detect and monitor for NEAs.