Guess what: That surprise, football stadium-sized asteroid that's making a near miss of Earth on Halloween isn't going to destroy us all! Yay! Obviously this is a good thing, but many of us are still curious about exactly how close the Halloween asteroid will get to Earth. It's going to be a close call, but hey, at least the world isn't ending yet, right?
The closest near-miss in a decade, nicknamed "Spooky," will be, in fact, 300,000 miles away from hitting Earth. That's close enough to see, but not with the naked eye (although of course that isn't stopping some people from freaking out about it, because this is the Internet we're talking about). Even though 300,000 miles seems pretty far away, it's actually relatively rare for space rocks to come even that close — it only happens once a decade or so. The last similar near-miss was the 2004 XP14 in July 2006, and there won't be another one until August 2027, when the 1999 AN10 will come close to 241,685 miles of Earth (so close!).
What does 300,000 look like? Well, you could drive a new car from Anchorage, Alaska to the Panama Canal and back 21 times and still have a little less than 300,000 miles on your odometer, to give you some idea. It's also a little longer than the distance from Earth to the moon. In other words, no need to send Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis up to space to blow that thing up.
The asteroid, which has the scientific name of 2015 TB145, was terrifyingly only discovered a few weeks ago, on Oct. 10. It's expected to make its swoop past Earth at 78,000 miles per hour on October 31 at 1:18 p.m. ET.
By the way, even though the rock was only discovered a few weeks ago, scientists say that it's because they care more about detecting bigger, deadlier rocks. This asteroid — which, mind you, is bigger than some skyscrapers at 950 to 2,100 feet across — would merely cause some serious damage and lots of lost lives. Merely. The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, meanwhile, was six miles wide — and even that, remember, didn't wipe out all life on Earth. We're resilient.
To check out the terrifying (terrifying!) asteroid itself during your Halloween afternoon festivities, check out Slooh.com, which will be airing footage of the asteroid captured by its observatories. Or just binge on Halloween candy during your lunchtime instead — it's not like this thing is going to be a threat to you, so why worry about it? (Well, because it's beautiful, but Halloween is a judgment-free day, people.)