Watch online as huge asteroid hurtles past Earth on June 14, 2012

A large asteroid discovered only days ago is set to sweep past the Earth on June 14, 2012. The great team at is going to try to catch it on camera as it goes by – so that you can watch online, too.

Looking for the September 13-14 asteroid passage? Click here

How many killer asteroids are out there?

The asteroid will pass within about 3.35 million miles (5.4 million kilometers) of our planet, or roughly 14 times the distance between Earth and the moon. It will appear as a 13th magnitude “star” – much too faint to be seen with the eye. There is no danger this asteroid will strike Earth.

You can watch the asteroid flyby on Slooh’s website, at

This object was discovered only days ago and has been labeled 2012 LZ1 by astronomers. Rob McNaught and his colleagues at Siding Spring, Australia first spotted this object on the night of June 10-11. The asteroid is thought to be about the size of a city block. It’ll make its closest approach to Earth Thursday evening according to U.S. clocks (middle of the night UTC), and the Slooh Space Camera will cover its near-approach live on

The online viewing is free to the public, starting at 5 p.m. PDT / 8 p.m. EDT / 00:00 UTC (June 15). did a great job recently, providing online views and discussion of the May 20-21 annular solar eclipse and the June 5-6 transit of Venus.

Gallery: Partial and ring eclipse of May 20-21

Gallery: Venus transit June 5-6

Tonight, the asteroid’s discoverer Rob McNaught and Astronomy magazine columnist Bob Berman will be on hand at to discuss.

The asteroid is estimated to be 500 meters (1,650 feet) wide. Slooh’s Canary Island observatory will try to track it.

Because of its size and proximity to Earth, 2012 LZ1 qualifies as a potentially hazardous asteroid. But there is no danger that this asteroid will strike Earth.

2012 LZ1 is roughly the same size as asteroid 2005 YU55, which flew closely past Earth last November. But 2005 YU55 came much closer – within 202,000 miles (325,000 km) of us on the evening of November 8, 2011. A space rock as big as 2005 YU55 hadn’t come so close to Earth since 1976, according to researchers.

Bottom line: A large asteroid – 2012 LZ1 – will sweep closely past Earth on Thursday late afternoon or evening June 14 according to U.S. clocks. It will be the middle of the night in Europe and the Middle East. It will be Friday morning June 15 for Australia and Asia. is hosting an online viewing. Viewing begins at 00:00 UTC. Details here.

You can watch the asteroid flyby on Slooh’s website, at

June 14, 2012

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Deborah Byrd

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