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Gigantic ‘Beast’ asteroid flying by Earth (VIDEO)

Published time: June 05, 2014 23:45
Edited time: June 08, 2014 09:35
An artist's illustration that shows a massive asteroid belt in orbit around a star the same age and size as our Sun. (AFP Photo / NASA)

An artist's illustration that shows a massive asteroid belt in orbit around a star the same age and size as our Sun. (AFP Photo / NASA)

A massive asteroid roughly the size of an entire football stadium that was discovered only months ago is passing by the Earth this week, with professional and amateur astronomers alike having the best chance to watch the flyover on Sunday.

Officially named Asteroid 2014 HQ124, the giant hunk of space mass has been nicknamed the Beast because, at an estimated size of over 1,000 feet wide, it is roughly the size of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Initial estimates guessed that the body’s diameter was between 400 to 900 meters (1,312 to 2,953 feet), although NASA’s NEOWISE has determined the Beast is closer to 325 meters. (The meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia measured between 17 to 20 meters in diameter.)

An object of such size could obviously pose a huge threat to Earth, although the Beast will fly no closer to the planet than 3.2 lunar distances (roughly equivalent to 716,500 miles). It would only take an object of about 100 feet wide to be destructive to Earth, according to Wired magazine.

For all of its size, the Beast was only detected on April 23. The NASA Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer discovered the Beast flying at approximately 31,000 mph (50,400 kilometers per hour) through space upon examining a fixed backdrop of the star system.

What’s disconcerting is that a rocky/metallic body this large, and coming so very close, should have only first been discovered this soon before its nearest approach,” Bob Berman, an astronomer with Internet astronomy outreach venture Slooh, told National Geographic. “HQ214 is at least 10 times bigger, and possibly 20 times, than the asteroid that injured a thousand people last year in Chelyabinsk, Siberia.”

If it were to impact us, the energy released would be measured not in kilotons like the atomic bombs that ended World War II, but in H-bomb type megatons,” he continued. “It will be interesting indeed to watch Slooh track and image this substantial intruder as it passes less than a million miles of us, at a speed 17 times greater than that of a high speed rifle bullet.”

The Beast marks one of the first major asteroids to pass by Earth since NASA and Slooh partnered earlier this year in an agreement that makes it possible for more citizen scientists to become involved with scouring outer space for asteroids flying near Earth. While large objects like the Beast make headlines, countless smaller asteroids and bodies fly over Earth every day unnoticed.

While astronomers believe we have spotted 90 percent of the potentially dangerous asteroids that are 1,000 feet wide or bigger,” Wired reported, “they estimate that we have detected only 30 percent of the objects that are around 460 feet wide and just 1 percent of the objects the size of the Beast.”

A Slooh video of the flyover is included below:

Comments (30)

 

StreetSleeper 12.07.2014 15:27

And Murietta - Who is your Prophet? If the earth stops rotation - half is in lasting Light. Also - rotation doesnt START again. Your Dribble is Foolishness. Fire BURN the Superfluous Commentary- WAKE UP. Enough energy put into your post to show that you dont give ENOUGH energy in Your Own Life. Be your OWN Prophet.

 

Marietta Alexander 08.06.2014 06:07

Prophet Efrain Rodriguez has prophesied about an asteroid that WILL hit the waters off Puerto Rico. It will be divinely directed to strike an undersea seismic fault resulting in a magnitude 12 earthquake felt worldwide. This will cause the water to recede from all coasts, then roar back in 1,000 ft tsunamis. The devastation will be catastrophic tearing through the Caribbean, submerging Florida and destroying much of the East Coast up to New England. The magnitude of the quake will effect the earth's rotation apparently stopping the earth for 3 days resulting in darkness. The U.S. death toll estimated at 40 million.

 

Sin Ful 07.06.2014 10:28

What if there wrong.

If they predicted that it is 3.2 lunar distances....how can we see this as a "accurate" prediction.

they said that the meteor that struck russia would come so close it would go directly between the earths orbit and the satailtes.....and guess what....IT HIT RUSSIA....if they predicted this wrong. earth is dead.......i know its paranoia...but its my paranoia thats kept me alive.....jus sayin

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