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100-Foot Asteroid is Buzzing by Earth Today is Closer Than the Moon

By Tariq Malik, Managing Editor
3/5/2014 4:33:23 PM

A newfound asteroid will buzz close by Earth today (March 5), flying safely between our planet and the orbit of the moon, and you can follow the space rock encounter online.

The asteroid 2014 DX110 zipped by Earth at 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT) today, just days after its discovery on Feb. 28. NASA officials say it poses no threat to the Earth.

"This asteroid, 2014 DX110, is estimated to be about 100 feet (30 meters) across," officials at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California wrote in an alert. "Its closest approach to Earth will be at about 217,000 miles (about 350,000 kilometers) from Earth at about 1 p.m. PST (4 p.m. EST) [2100 GMT] on March 5. The average distance between Earth and its moon is about 239,000 miles (385,000 kilometers)." [Photos: Potentially Dangerous Near-Earth Asteroids]

Asteroid 2014 DX110 was discovered last week by astronomers using the space rock-hunting Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Haleakala, Hawaii. The telescope is one of many around the world used to seek out and track near-Earth objects. NASA's Near-Earth Objects program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., oversees one of those efforts.

"NASA detects, tracks and characterizes asteroids and comets using both ground- and space-based telescopes," JPL officials said in a statement. "The Near-Earth Object Observations Program, commonly called 'Spaceguard,' discovers these objects, characterizes a subset of them and identifies their close approaches to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our planet."

The asteroid 2014 DX110 is seen as a point of light in this image from the Virtual Telescope Project in Ceccano, Italy, captured on March 3, 2014. Credit: Gianluca Masi

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 3 p.m. ET to correct the date of the flyby (March 5).

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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