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Huge Asteroid to Fly Safely by Earth Monday: Watch It Live

Image: Graphic of asteroid 2000 EM26 in the night sky
This graphic shows the location of the asteroid 2000 EM26 in the night sky on Feb. 17, 2014 during a live skywatching webcast by the online stargazing venture Slooh.Slooh

An asteroid the size of three football fields is set to make a close brush of Earth on Monday (Feb. 17), and you can watch the flyby in a live webcast.

Near-Earth asteroid 2000 EM26 poses no threat of actually hitting the planet, but the online Slooh Space Camera will track the asteroid as it passes by Earth on Monday. The live Slooh webcast will start at 9 p.m. ET (0200 Feb. 18 GMT), and you can also watch the webcast directly through the Slooh website. (You can participate in the broadcast by using the hashtag #asteroid to ask questions during the 2000 EM26 show.)

You can also watch the asteroid broadcast live on Space.com. Scientists estimate that 2000 EM26 is about 885 feet (270 meters) in diameter, and it is whizzing through the solar system at a break-neck 27,000 mph (12.37km/s), according to Slooh. During its closest approach, the asteroid will fly about 8.8 lunar distances from Earth. [See photos of potentially dangerous asteroids]

"We continue to discover these potentially hazardous asteroids — sometimes only days before they make their close approaches to Earth," Slooh's technical and research director, Paul Cox said in a statement. "Slooh’s asteroid research campaign is gathering momentum with Slooh members using the Slooh robotic telescopes to monitor this huge population of potentially hazardous space rocks. We need to find them before they find us!"

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2000 EM26's flyby comes almost exactly a year after two major near-Earth object (NEO) events on Feb. 15, 2013. That day, as scientists were tracking the extremely close pass of the 98-foot (30 m) asteroid 2012 DA14, another, unrelated space rock unexpectedly exploded above Chelyabinsk, Russia, causing substantial damage to buildings that injured more than 1,000 people with falling glass.

Pieces of the Russian meteorite will be awarded to seven gold medal winnerson Saturday at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

— Miriam Kramer, Space.com

This is a condensed version of a report from Live Science. Read the full story.

Follow Miriam Kramer @mirikramer and Google+. Follow Spacedotcom on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.