By Noah Rayman
September 4, 2014

NASA says an asteroid that was first spotted only days ago will pass very close to Earth on Sunday.

The asteroid, designated 2014 RC, will “safely pass” our planet at about one tenth the distance from Earth to the Moon, or roughly 25,000 miles away, the space agency said Wednesday. That means it will be only a few thousand miles away from the geosynchronous ring where many of our weather and communication satellites orbit about 22,000 miles from Earth’s surface.

2014 RC is estimated to be about 60 feet in size and, despite its proximity, won’t be visible by the naked eye when it flies over New Zealand, though a simple telescope will be enough to spot it. It was first discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona over the weekend.

“While this celestial object does not appear to pose any threat to Earth or satellites, its close approach creates a unique opportunity for researchers to observe and learn more about asteroids,” NASA said in a statement about the asteroid’s pass.

And this won’t be the last we see of 2014 RC, whose orbit will bring it back to Earth’s neighborhood in the future. But NASA assures us that “no future threatening Earth encounters have been identified.”

 

Write to Noah Rayman at noah.rayman@time.com.

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