According to NASA, a small asteroid will safely pass very close to Earth on Sunday, Sept. 7th, 2014. At the time of closest approach, based on current calculations to be about 2:18 p.m. EDT (11:18 a.m. PDT / 18:18 UTC), the asteroid will be roughly over New Zealand. From its reflected brightness, astronomers estimate that the asteroid is about 60 feet (20 meters) in size.
So the question is, will future asteroids hit too close to home? While this celestial object does not appear to pose any threat to Earth or satellites, its close approach creates a unique opportunity for researchers to observe and learn more about asteroids.
At the time of closest approach, 2014 RC will be approximately one-tenth the distance from the center of Earth to the moon, or about 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers). The asteroid’s apparent magnitude at that time will be about 11.5, rendering it unobservable to the unaided eye. However, amateur astronomers with small telescopes might glimpse the fast-moving appearance of this near-Earth asteroid.
While 2014 RC will not impact Earth, its orbit will bring it back to our planet’s neighborhood in the future. The asteroid’s future motion will be closely monitored, but no future threatening Earth encounters have been identified.