You may have seen the headlines in the past week about Asteroid 2004 BL86, which will pass by our planet in less than 24 hours. Speeding by at almost 35,000 miles per hour, it will pass Earth at a distance of just 745,000 miles (about three times the distance from here to the Moon). This space rock measures about ⅓ of a mile (0.5 kilometers) across. You might be able to catch a glimpse of 2004 BL86 with your home telescope or even a pair of good binoculars.
The Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees was quoted in The Telegraph: “Although this particular asteroid won’t get so close again for 200 years, others like it will get equally close much sooner.” As stated so clearly in this article in Forbes, “Forget The Big Asteroid Buzzing Earth; Worry About What We Can’t See,” we must be determined to find as many Near-Earth Asteroids as possible”.