A large asteroid zips past Earth today, here's how to watch it live

The Virtual Telescope Project will provide a livestream Monday (Feb. 21) of an asteroid zooming safely past Earth, weather permitting.

You can catch live views of asteroid 1999 VF22 starting at 7 p.m. EST Monday (0000 GMT on Tuesday, Feb. 22) from Rome, Italy, where the project is situated. You can watch the livestream on this page or directly from the Virtual Telescope Project if weather conditions allow.

"The Virtual Telescope Project will show it live, online, just before the fly-by time. This way, you can join the journey from the comfort of your home," founder Gianluca Masi said in a statement.

Related: Just how many threatening asteroids are there? It's complicated.

The Virtual Telescope Project captured this view of asteroid 1999 VF22 on Feb. 11, 2022. (Image credit: Virtual Telescope Project)

The asteroid was discovered in 1999 by the Catalina Sky Survey, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Small-Body Database. NASA has a mandate from Congress to seek out rocks that are potentially hazardous to Earth, and so far has found no imminent threats after decades of careful searching.

While 1999 VF22 is classified as "potentially hazardous," on this pass it will come relatively far away from our planet. Its closest approach will be roughly 3.3 million miles (5.4 million kilometers), the equivalent of 14 times the average lunar distance, according to Masi.

The asteroid has an estimated size of 1,017 feet (310 meters) in diameter and orbits the sun every 1.5 years, according to EarthSky. Astronomers are also using the Goldstone Radar Antenna in California to observe the space rock between Feb. 19 and 24, EarthSky said.

Masi also captured an image of the asteroid on Feb. 11 during a 300-second exposure remotely taken using a PlaneWave 17-inch telescope. During the image exposure time, he said, the asteroid was approaching Earth from a distance of 22 million miles (35 million km).

If you're looking for binoculars or a telescope to see the asteroid in the night sky, check out our guide for the best binocular deals and the best telescope deals now. If you need equipment to capture the moment, consider our guides for the best cameras for astrophotography and the best lenses for astrophotography to make sure you're ready for the next asteroid sighting.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

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