Anyone with a strong Internet connection can watch a bus-sized asteroid make a safe flyby of Earth today (April 26).
Weather permitting, the Virtual Telescope Project plans to livestream live telescopic views of the recently found asteroid 2022 HB1. The asteroid will pass within about 52% of the moon's orbit. The broadcast starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT (1830 GMT) and you can watch it in the video feed above or directly from The Virtual Telescope Project.
The asteroid is roughly 39 feet wide (12 meters), making it roughly the size of a bus, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The little world will pass within 125,000 miles (201,000 km) of our planet.
The Mount Lemmon Survey, a part of the Catalina Sky Survey, discovered the asteroid on Sunday (April 24) and made an announcement that day via an International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center bulletin.
The asteroid is too small to be deemed "potentially hazardous"; that designation requires that an asteroid be larger than 492 feet (150 meters), many times larger than 2022 HB1. The little asteroid does firmly meet the distance qualification: potentially hazardous asteroids must pass within 4.6 million miles (7.5 million kilometers or 19.5 times the distance to the moon) of Earth.
NASA has found no imminent threats to date after decades of scanning the sky, but the agency continues to watch out for asteroids through partner telescopes and space observations, coordinated through the Planetary Defense Coordination Office.
The agency also tests asteroid defense procedures. A notable example is the 1,210-pound (550 kilograms) DART spacecraft, which should slam into a small asteroid (Dimorphos) in September or October. If all goes to plan, the mission will change the orbit of this asteroid around its larger companion, Didymos.
If you're looking for a telescope or binoculars to spot asteroids like this one, check out our guide for the best binoculars deals and the best telescope deals available now. Our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography can also help you pick the best imaging gear.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace