Watch an asteroid pass between Earth and the moon on Friday

By Brooks Hays  |  March 1, 2018 at 11:17 AM
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March 1 (UPI) -- A small asteroid will pass within 70,000 miles of Earth's surface on Friday -- a close but safe encounter.

The flyby will be streamed live online by the Virtual Telescope Project. Asteroid 2018 DV1 will reach its closest point to Earth at approximately 12:54 p.m. ET.

The flyby will mark the 18th time an asteroid has passed between Earth and the moon in 2018. It's possible others have passed without being spotted by astronomers. Scientists only just identified 2018 DV1 on Monday.

Because the asteroid is so small, between 20 and 40 feet in diameter, only especially powerful telescopes will be able to spot the space rock.

Earlier this week, astronomers used telescopes at the Tenagra Observatories in Arizona to snap a picture of the asteroid.

It's likely 2018 DV1 would break apart and disintegrate if it were to enter Earth's atmosphere, but as 2013's Chelyabinsk meteor proved, an asteroid doesn't have to be all that big or even hit Earth's surface directly to do considerable damage.

The Chelyabinsk meteor, a superbolide, a fireball brighter than the sun, exploded 19 miles above Russia's Chelyabinsk Oblast region with the force of 500,000 tons of TNT. The shockwave broke thousands of windows and sent hundreds of people to the hospital.

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