Impress Your Dates & Mates: The Asteroid

243 Ida And Its Moon NASA

Tonight, an asteroid is going to come alarmingly close to us. Should we be worried?

The earth is 8,000 miles in diameter. The asteroid is going to be 17,000 miles away. Given the billions of miles that make up space, that's really, really close. But still, the answer is 'no'.

Fortunately, the asteroid is very small (150 feet wide), so if it did hit, it would only destroy a few cities in India, and astronomers would have known this months in advance. Here's what you need to know:

The asteroid is named 2012 DA-14.

It was discovered last year by an amateur astronomer, and has been tracked ever since.

It's flying through space at 28,000 km/h.

The asteroid will come closest to earth at 2:24 p.m. EST (19:24 GMT) today.

At that point, it will be visible by telescope from Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe.

If you're not in one of those locations, you can watch it online here.

NASA has a video showing the route the asteroid will take, which you can see here.

And if you want to get a little freaked out, you can read Time's article about how the doomsday scenario would play out if it was going to hit a place like New York City.

To give you an idea of the damage it would do, Arizona's Barringer Crater was made by an asteroid that was the same size, and is 1.2 km across, 175 m deep and has a rim 45 m high.

But it's not going to hit us, so tonight, raise a glass to another day of successful living on Planet Earth!