Thursday night, an asteroid only discovered a couple weeks ago made a pass by Earth and the SLOOH Space Camera caught it all on video.
Asteroid 2012 QG42, which is between 625 feet to 1,400 feet wide, is described as the size of three football fields or a 14-story building or the Eiffel Tower. According to Wired, the asteroid spotted coming toward us on Aug. 26 flew by at 25,000 mph and was considered “potentially” dangerous. This means that while it wasn’t a risk for hitting Earth last night but it could meet with us again while in orbit in the future.
Space.com reports that the asteroid was a “safe distance” from Earth — 7.5 times the Earth-to-Moon distance away (the moon is 238,000 from Earth).
“Near Earth Objects have been whizzing past us lately, undetected until they have been practically on top of us. This illustrates the need for continued and improved monitoring for our own future safety,” Bob Berman, a Slooh editor and Astronomy Magazine columnist, said in a statement according to Space.com. “It is not a question of if, but when such an object will hit us, and how large and fast it may be going.”
Bergman, along with Patrick Paolucci and Paul Cox, conducted a live webcast last night of the asteroid passing at its closest point to Earth from the SLOOH Space Camera in the Canary Islands.
In the description of one of the videos posted by Cox, he calls it a “tricky target to image” and states that the “asteroid is the point of light in the center of the image – the lines are the streaked background stars behind.” Watch this shortened time-lapse pulled together from that webcast:
Here’s the full more than an hour long webcast with information about SLOOH itself, the asteroid and the telescope making the observation:
In case you’re interested in seeing the orbit path of 2012 QG42, check out this animation: