An approximately three-mile wide asteroid called 4179 Toutatis may treat some stargazers in parts of the world to a special show later tonight and Wednesday morning.
Passing by Earth at just 4.3 million miles away, Toutatis will be visible through a highly-advanced telescope on the Spanish Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa around 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and in Arizona at 10 p.m. EST Tuesday, December 11.
For those without the proper gear or time to watch this asteroid that travels around the sun every four years, the Slooh Space Camera and Virtual Telescope Project will stream free, live footage of Toutatis taken by professional observatories. It will be available to watch on Slooh’s website.
The Virtual Telescope Project out of the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy will also feature a free webcast with commentary from astrophysicists on December 13 at 3 p.m. EST. Watch it here.
While the asteroid will not impact Earth, the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts lists this asteroid as a potentially hazardous object since it could cause catastrophic damage to earth if it ever did hit our planet. Scientists compare it to an asteroid that was estimated to be 6 miles wide and believed to have wiped out dinosaurs 65 million years ago.