Asteroid makes fly-by close to Earth on Sunday

Ursula Watson
The Detroit News

An asteroid will zip very close to Earth on Sunday — 25,000 miles close.

At its closest approach Sunday, the 60-foot rock will pass safely 25,000 miles over New Zealand about 2:18 p.m. That’s about one-tenth the distance between here and the moon. It’s also beyond the orbit of our highest communication and weather satellites and poses no threat to Earth or orbiting space craft, NASA says.

NASA has gauged the size of the small asteroid, designated 2014 RC, from its reflected brightness.

While it will be unobservable to the naked eye, those with small telescopes might get a glimpse.

A space rock about the same size blasted through the atmosphere over Russia’s Ural Mountains in 2013, causing considerable damage.

Asteroid 2014 RC was initially discovered on the night of Aug. 31 by the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona, and independently detected the next night by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope, located on the summit of Haleakalā on Maui, Hawaii.

The asteroid’s future motion will be closely monitored, NASA says, adding that if you miss it Sunday, not to worry: It will be back in our neighborhood again one day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.