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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab).

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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab). 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 (opens in new tab) 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.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) and on Facebook (opens in new tab)

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. Elizabeth's reporting includes an exclusive with Office of the Vice-President of the United States, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, 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 (soon) a Bachelor of History from Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. 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