Newly Found Asteroid to Pass Within Moon’s Orbit on March 4, 2013

by Nancy Atkinson on March 3, 2013

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A newly found asteroid, 2013 EC can be seen in the lower left corner of the red box in this image. Screen capture from Virtual Telescope webcast on 3/3/2013.

A newly found asteroid, 2013 EC can be seen in the lower left corner of the red box in this image. Screen capture from Virtual Telescope webcast on 3/3/2013.

A newly found asteroid will pass just inside the orbit of the Moon, with its closest approach on March 4, 2013 at 07:35 UTC. Named 2013 EC, the asteroid is about the size of the space rock that exploded over Russia two and a half weeks ago, somewhere between 10-17 meters wide. The asteroid that sparked the Russian meteor is estimated to have been about 17 meters wide when it entered Earth’s atmosphere.

2013 EC was discovered by the Mt. Lemmon Observatory in Arizona on March 2. There is no chance this asteroid will hit Earth.

2013 EC will come within 396,000 kilometers from Earth, (246,000 miles, or around 1.0 lunar distances, 0.0026 AU.

The Moon’s distance from the Earth varies between 363,104 km (225,622 miles) at perigee (closest) and 406,696 km (252,088 miles) at apogee (most distant point).

Gianluca Masi from the Virtual Telescope Project had a live view of the asteroid when it was about twice the distance of the Moon, and a replay of that webcast is available below. (Views of the asteroid start at about 31:00 in the video.)

“That we are finding all these asteroids recently does not mean that we are being visited by more asteroids,” Masi said during the webcast, “just that our ability to detect them has gotten so much better. Our technology has improved a lot over the past decades.”

More info about 2013 EC on the JPL Small Body Database.


Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

rob krol March 3, 2013 at 10:55 PM

i hope you have right and that is not begining of something like asteroid rain fall ;)

Michael Abracham March 4, 2013 at 1:48 AM

I wonder what the odds are that it will strike the Moon.

dmajaess March 4, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Hi Michael, I’m unsure, but objects strike the moon all the time. You will enjoy this webcam footage that was taken of the moon which captured some strikes:


Rain March 4, 2013 at 2:11 AM

Just think, if Apollo happens today, these guys should be able to track the capsule optically for most of its journey.

anonymus March 3, 2013 at 11:16 PM

I’ve seen just about berlin star shower, she flashed green on I do not know what it was …. crazy

Kevin Frushour March 4, 2013 at 6:24 AM

I really want to scream “Space is big, people! Just because an asteroid is whizzing past Earth does NOT mean there is any chance of impact!”

But people are people. Most folks don’t think about space much. It’s not exactly ignorance, because to be fair it’s not something that pops up in their everyday lives.

dmajaess March 4, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Hi Kevin, I think the events in Russia this past month demonstrated that the public is totally unaware of the danger such objects pose, and even that such objects exist. Articles like this, and on the broader topic, help educate the public, which is ultimately key to securing funds for near earth asteroid research. I believe both our past (e.g., extinction of the dinosaurs), and our present (the strike in Russia), tell us that humanity needs to progress (technologically) quickly to be able to counter such events. Impactors are inevitable, but the question is how ‘near’ in our future will a big one emerge? That question is an unknown, but humanity and potentially the lives of billions of people are on the line. The public needs to be familiarized with past impactors and the devistating effect they had on our planet, and how they modified the course of evolution.


disqus_CdKsW8F32Y March 13, 2013 at 1:16 PM

An asteroid whizzing toward earth is exactly why there is certainly a chance of impact.

Nivan Mal March 4, 2013 at 7:55 AM

remember, every second we are hurtling 100 miles to unknown void of galaxy that we’re in. More of these objects popping up on telescopes could mean, we’re in certain part of this galaxy at the moment where these objects are abundant and crossing our way.

Navneeth March 4, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Or maybe we’re simply getting better and spending more time trying to spot them.

Magda Tychowska March 4, 2013 at 10:59 PM

Or both…

Kalvis Kajaks March 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

So teh scientists notice all asteroids who go past us, but cant detect one who directly hit us in Russia? Something is terribly wrong with their radars telescopes or whatever shit equipment are they using.

Jasper Johns March 4, 2013 at 4:08 PM

This is all weirdly like this book I just read, a novel called THE MYOSHI EFFECT. It’s done as humor, but the way people react to this asteroid headed toward earth and how they try to figure out how to destroy it – all sort of what is happening now. Weird how fiction becomes fact.

space_sailor March 4, 2013 at 9:07 PM

One was spoted over Poland last Saturday: It had to be quite big because informations about it came from different parts of country separated more then 400 km. There were sonic boom heard as well

Tim Amato March 5, 2013 at 2:45 AM

As more and more close passings are discovered, not counting the strikes over oceans that have not even been recorded, it doesn’t make sense that the probabilty of near misses is not increased from current estimates at some point.

Daystrom2012 March 5, 2013 at 2:59 AM

It reminds me of a book I read recently……And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars;
and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the
waves roaring;
Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things
which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. Luke 21:25-26

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