NASA just figured out that an asteroid about 1,300 ft in diameter (about 3.5 football field lengths) is headed our way and its closest approach is on, none other than, Halloween day 13:05 EST (17:05 UTC). You can breathe a sigh of relief though because asteroid 2015 TB145 will not be pummeling through the Earth’s atmosphere; it will be a safe 310,000 miles away (about 1.3 times the distance to the moon). An asteroid hasn’t been this close to us since 2006 and the next time will be when 1999 AN10 comes by in 2027. The scary thing is the NASA didn’t discover this asteroid until about 15 days ago so I wouldn’t hold my breath on that 2027 figure. Let’s hope we don’t have an Armageddon situation to teach us we need more funding in that area.
If you would like to spot the asteroid with your telescope, October 30th is the best night to catch it, leaving the 31st wide open for stuffing your face with Snickers. You will need an 8″ telescope and look in the direction of Orion. EarthSky has a diagram to help.
Happy Halloween and Happy Observing!