A newly found asteroid passed 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 Russian meteorite is estimated to be about 15 meters wide when it entered Earth’s atmosphere). 2013 EC was discovered by the Mt. Lemmon Observatory in Arizona on March 2. . There was no chance this asteroid would have hit Earth.
2013 EC came 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.
“That we are finding all these asteroids recently does not mean that we are being visited by more asteroids,” Masi said, “just that our ability to detect them has gotten so much better. Our technology has improved a lot over the past decades.”