Close encounter: Monster asteroid whizzes past Earth

Asteroid EM26

Credit: NASA / JPL

Diagram shows the orbit of an asteroid named 2000 EM26 which was scheduled to pass close to Earth on February 17, 2014.




Posted on February 17, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 17 at 10:13 PM

Earth got a close encounter Monday as an asteroid as big as three football fields whizzes by at 27,000 mph.

The asteroid wasn't a threat — it missed the Earth by 2 million miles. Dubbed 2000 EM26, it's about 885 feet in diameter

The asteroid began its close pass monitored by Slooh, a robotic telescope service on Mount Teide in the Canary Islands.

Asteroids are small rocky planetoids that revolve around the sun but are too small to be considered planets.

2000 EM26 was discovered March 5, 2000. You can see a diagram of its orbit from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory here.

The asteroid's passage comes a year and two days after an asteroid ripped through the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia. That asteroid damaged thousands of buildings and was felt over a very wide area. It was about 65 feet across.