PASADENA, Calif., May 5 (UPI) — A 25-foot asteroid passed between Earth and the moon over the weekend, coming within 186,000 miles of Earth’s surface. On average, the moon’s orbit is 238,855 miles from Earth.
Dubbed 2014 HL129 by astronomers, the bus-sized asteroid was only discovered several days before by scientists at the Steward Observatory, which sits atop Mt. Lemmon in Arizona’s Catalina Mountains. The above video from Space.com, shows the orbit of HL129.
The near miss of an asteroid flying anonymously through space (until just a few days ago) is sure to bring further attention to NASA’ Asteroid Grand Challenge, a series of contest aimed at bringing amateur scientists and astronomers into the asteroid-hunting fold. “Asteroid hunting is an activity everyone can get involved with,” NASA claimed in a promotional video earlier this year. “Whether it’s writing computer code, building hardware, making observations through a telescope. Survival is its own reward. It’s up to each of us to protect our planet from asteroids.”