CAPE CANAVERAL (REUTERS) –
An asteroid that is about 1.2 million kilometers away will pass earth tonight, NASA says.
Astronomers say the asteroid will pass earth between 8 p.m. EST today and 1 a.m. EST Tuesday.
The asteroid is named 2004 BL86.
The asteroid is roughly half a kilometer in diameter, and will be a close but harmless encounter, according to officials.
Binoculars or a telescope will be needed to watch the passing of the asteroid, which is approximately three times further away than the moon is from earth,
“While it poses no threat to earth for the foreseeable future, it’s a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more,” astronomer Don Yeomans, with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, said in a statement.
Until asteroid 1999 AN10 passes by in 2027, 2004 BL86 will be the largest to fly by Earth, says NASA.