A newly discovered asteroid will buzz Earth this weekend.
At closest approach Sunday at 2 :18 p.m. ET (11:18 a.m. PT or 18:18 UTC), the 20-metre-wide rock will pass a safe 40,000 kilometres over New Zealand. 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, which are located in a region called the geosynchronous satellite ring.
NASA says this latest near-Earth asteroid — called 2014 RC — poses no threat to either the home planet or orbiting spacecraft. A space rock of about the same size blasted through the atmosphere over Russia's Ural Mountains in 2013, causing considerable damage.
Astronomers in Arizona detected 2014 RC the night of Aug. 31.
Stargazers will need telescopes to see Sunday's flyby. Or they can watch the asteroid approach streamed live online by Slooh, an online observatory that broadcasts telescope feeds of celestial events on the internet. The broadcast will start at 10 p.m. ET Saturday.