An asteroid the size of a city block will make its closest approach to Earth on Sunday, July 22. The asteroid is estimated to be 620 meters to 1.4 kilometers (2,000 to 4,500 feet wide). It’ll pass within 14 times the moon’s distance from Earth, or within 4.65 million miles. Nothing to fear. The Slooh Space Camera will cover its near approach live. The show stars July 22 at 4:30 p.m. PDT / 7:30 p.m. EDT / 23:30 UTC. Astronomers will be on hand to discuss the asteroid. Slooh has done a great job recently onother events of this kind. Enjoy!
The asteroid 2002 AM31 is not a surprise, by the way. As its name suggests, it has been known since the year 2002, when the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program discovered it.
This asteroid sweeps past just 39 days after newly discovered asteroid 2012 LZ1 paid an unexpected visit to Earth in June.
Bottom line: Asteroid 2002 AM31 will pass within about 14 times the moon’s distance from Earth on Sunday late afternoon and evening, July 22 (U.S. time). The Slooh Space Camera team will cover the event live. The public is invited. It is free.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.