NASA just discovered a massive asteroid that will zoom past Earth on Halloween night

Asteroid
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has recently announced the discovery of a large asteroid, designated 2015 TB145, that will pass incredibly close by the Earth on Halloween night. Alarmingly, the asteroid was discovered only ten days ago by Hawaii’s asteroid-hunting Pan-STARRS observatory, but don’t worry — it’s not considered a threat to the Earth.

Astronomers predict the 300- to 600-meter wide asteroid will pass by the Earth at 17:18 UT (1:18 PM ET). It will be approximately 1.3 lunar distances (about 300,000 miles away) away from the planet’s surface and will be traveling at an extremely high velocity of 35 km/s (78,000MPH). It is far enough away that it doesn’t pose a threat to the Earth, which is a good thing as it would cause a significant problem if it were to crash land on our planet.

In 2013, a 20-meter wide meteorite traveling at a speed of 19 km/s caused local damage when it exploded high above Russia with the force of around 500 kilotonnes of TNT. Over 1,200 people were injured when the concussive shock waves from the explosion shattered windows and damaged buildings.

Light from the explosion even burned the skin and eyes of stunned onlookers up to 20 miles away from the incident. We don’t need to tell you what an asteroid 20 times larger and almost twice as fast would do if it actually hit the Earth.

Astronomers are excited by the unpredicted discovery of 2015 TB145, as it is the closest flyby of a celestial object since 2006 when the object 2004 XP14 came within 1.1 lunar distances. Scientists will use this opportunity to study the physical properties of the 2015 TB145, which is believed to be cometary in nature. Amateur astronomers in the Northern hemisphere may also get a chance to see the asteroid when it travels through the constellation of Orion during the overnight hours of October 30th and into the early morning hours of October 31st.

The arrival of 2015 TB145 also provides astronomers with a chance to use their imaging and radar-tracking equipment before the next near-earth object makes its appearance. Both DSN Goldstone in California and the Arecibo array in Puerto Rico will be tracking and recording the path of 2015 TB145. The data collected from this unexpected visit could help astronomers prepare for future near-earth encounters. Unless we have another surprise visitor, we won’t see another similar near flyby until 2027, when 1999 AN10 is expected to pass the Earth within 1 lunar distance.

Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Emerging Tech

Super telescope captures supermassive black holes forming billions of years ago

The Subaru Telescope in Hawaii has captured evidence of supermassive black holes forming in the ancient universe. Astronomers discovered 83 quasars powered by supermassive black holes from billions of years ago.
Business

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

A silver bullet is being aimed at the drug-resistant superbugs on the ISS

A bacteria which is benign here on Earth can mutate into a drug-resistant superbug once it enters space. Now this problem is being tackled by a team of microbiologists who have found a way to inhibit the spread of bacteria in the ISS.
Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.
Emerging Tech

Researchers gave alligators headphones and ketamine, and all for a good cause

Researchers in Germany and the United States recently gave ketamine and earphones to alligators to monitor how they process sounds. Here's what it reveals about alligator evolution.
Emerging Tech

Cheese tastes different when it listens to Led Zeppelin, Swiss study finds

A funky new study says that exposing cheese to music changes its aroma and flavor. What’s more, the genre of music matters. Researchers from the Bern University of Arts played music to nine, 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers plan to beam Earth’s greatest hits into deep space, and you can help

A new project from the SETI Institute (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) will give the public the chance to submit compositions to be beamed into space, with the aim of connecting people around the world through music.
Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.