Large asteroid 2021 EQ3 has moved safely past Earth

Asteroid 2021 EQ3 will pass closer to the moon.

NASA / JPL-Caltech

A very large asteroid that passed by the Earth especially near March 15. The flyby was completely safe and posed no danger to anything or anyone on Earth or any of our satellites. But asteroid 2021 EQ3 came closer to Earth than our single natural satellite.

Sky observations and other telescopes see a space rock go closer to the moon every few days, on average. Most of these asteroids are just a few meters across, they may not be larger than a bus.

The estimated diameter of Asteroid 2021 EQ3 ranged from 17 to 38 meters (55 to 124 feet). That makes it about the same size as that meteoroid it entered the atmosphere above Russia in 2013, creating a shock wave that blew out thousands of windows in the lower Chelyabinsk city, injuring hundreds.

The nearest 2021 EQ3 passed us above 9:45 pm PT, at a distance of about 173,000 miles (278,000 kilometers) – that’s 72% of the distance from Earth to the moon.

This makes the 2021 EQ3 the second biggest thing to come closer to the moon in 2021.

It is also different than 2001 FO32, which is a complete monster with a diameter of about a mile. That asteroid passed March 21, but at a distance of five hours farther than the moon.

Lean CNET space calendar 2021 to keep up to date with the latest news this year. You can even add it to your own Google calendar.

Clarification, March 22 at 5:44 pm PT: The timeline of an earlier version of this story suggested that this asteroid would fly past a week later than it did. It moved safely past Earth on March 15th. Read about the latest asteroid, 2001 FO32, here.