Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA – A small asteroid, designated 2014 RC, will safely pass very close to Earth on Sunday, September 7th, 2014.
At the time of closest approach, based on current calculations to be about 2:18pm EDT (11:18am PDT / 18:18 UTC), the asteroid will be roughly over New Zealand.
From its reflected brightness, astronomers estimate that the asteroid is about 60 feet (20 meters) in size.Asteroid 2014 RC was initially discovered on the night of August 31st by the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona, and independently detected the next night by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope, located on the summit of Haleakal? on Maui, Hawaii.
Both reported their observations to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Additional follow-up observations by the Catalina Sky Survey and the University of Hawaii 88-inch (2.2-meter) telescope on Mauna Kea confirmed the orbit of 2014 RC.
At the time of closest approach, 2014 RC will be approximately one-tenth the distance from the center of Earth to the moon, or about 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers). The asteroid’s apparent magnitude at that time will be about 11.5, rendering it unobservable to the unaided eye.
However, amateur astronomers with small telescopes might glimpse the fast-moving appearance of this near-Earth asteroid.
While 2014 RC will not impact Earth, its orbit will bring it back to our planet’s neighborhood in the future. The asteroid’s future motion will be closely monitored, but no future threatening Earth encounters have been identified.
For a heliocentric view of the orbit of asteroid 2014 RC with respect to Earth and other planets, visit: