Halloween is spooky enough on its own, but in case you are looking for an extra serving of creepy this year, the universe is here to step in — a Halloween asteroid is barreling through space, and it's only going to barely miss hitting Earth. What is the Halloween asteroid exactly, you ask? No, it's not the plot of some really low-budget disaster movie slated to come out Oct. 31, although I can see how anyone might draw that conclusion. The Halloween asteroid is real, and even has a fancy scientific name to prove it. NASA discovered 2015 TB145 making its trip through the cosmos on Oct. 10, and while it definitely won't be the end of the world as we know it, there are still a couple of things about it you should know.
For starters, 2015 TB145 will only miss our fine planet by about 300,000 miles. That might seem like a huge distance, but then you realize that in the grand scheme of the whole entire universe, 300,000 miles is pretty much chump change. In fact, this is the closest an asteroid this size has come to Earth in nearly 10 years. Pretty sweet Halloween prank the universe is playing, don't you think?
The Halloween asteroid isn't exactly going to be a cinematic Halloweengeddon, but it's still going to be a hot topic in the next week. At the very least, I'm willing to bet it will inspire at least a few out-of-this-world Halloween costumes (sorry, couldn't resist). Here are six facts to know about the Halloween asteroid.
1. NASA only discovered it a few weeks ago
NASA was just poking around space, business as usual, when it first discovered the existence of 2015 TB145 on Oct. 10. Astronomers spotted the asteroid through the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii, and were pretty blown away by how close the asteroid actually was to Earth.
2. It's pretty huge
According to NASA's official report, the asteroid is approximately 320 meters in diameter (which equates to about 1,049 feet). You don't want an interstellar rock of that size hitting us up on Earth — that's for sure.
3. It's also pretty fast
NASA reports that the Halloween asteroid is flying by at approximately 35 kilometers per second (78,000 miles per hour), a speed that scientists say is "unusually high." Yikes!
4. It will pass by Earth on Halloween
Hence, why it's called the Halloween asteroid. More specifically, 2015 TB145 will be closest to Earth on Oct. 31 at 1:18 p.m. ET.
5. You might be able to see it
Well, you can if you have a super powerful telescope. According to NASA, "2015 TB145 could reach 10th magnitude (the asteroid's brightness measurement) before sunrise on October 31 for observers in North America, but it will be close to the waning gibbous Moon and probably challenging to see with small telescopes." Now would be a good time to Google observatories near you.
6. The next time an asteroid this size approaches will be in 2027
As far as huge asteroids zooming by Earth go, NASA says we are in the clear for at least another decade. Will the 2027 asteroid swing by on Halloween, too? For now, that's just another one of the deep, dark secrets of the universe.