A total lack of death from the skies

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The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission spotted an asteroid! 2014 EN45 is large (800 m), dark, and not going to kill us. At it's closest-approach on March 17th, it's going to pass by a downright spacious 19 million kilometres (or 49.8 times the Earth-moon distance).

In related news, the Bad Astronomer has a nice little debunk on how 2003 QQ47 is not going to kill us on March 21st. As a quick-hint when reading news stories, asteroids have their year of discovery embedded in their name. When I wrote about how 2014 DX110 or 2014 EC weren't going to kill us, you could tell I was writing about recently-discovered asteroids by the 2014 in their names. Freshly-discovered asteroids are usually the subject of these "We're all going to diiiieeee!" panics because the limited number of observations means we don't necessarily know the orbital path very well yet. When one of these articles is written about an asteroid that we've known about and tracked for over a decade (2003 QQ47), then the panic is usually because the the journalist hasn't checked JPL's Asteroid Watch or Near Earth Object tracking site.


Tl;dr? we're not going to die from 2014 EN45 or 2003 QQ47 crashing into us next week. We also won't be dying from 2010 FR9, 2014 EM, 2014 EN12, 2014 DM23, or... really, it's a long list of things won't be killing us this week.


WISE photo via @AmyMainzer. For the latest news on asteroids that aren't killing us, follow @AsteroidWatch. Have a rock you think might lead to our sudden demise? Go on, ask me about it!