Asteroid surprises keep on giving ...

Space rocks in orbit in our Solar System seem harmless enough. But every now and again they come close in orbit and give us Earthlings a surprise.

Remember the impact in Russia in early 2013 that was captured by dash-cams in that country and made the TV news?  It was a meteoroid due to its smallish size (less than 20m), but who really cares about size - a quickly flying rock is a quickly flying rock at any size, and capable of injuring people and destroying property.

Upon reading the latest Fred Watson newsletter which arrived in the inbox today, it seems that the latest visitor to our sky space will be arriving in a fly-by on Monday 8 September. However, it will be best viewed from New Zealand about 6.18am NZT.

The rocky object has the catchy name “2014 RC” and will travel to within 40,000 km from Earth. That’s great news it is flying by so far out, considering it was only discovered a week ago.

Even if you were in NZ you would not see 2014 RC with the naked eye as it is small (about 20m) and travelling quite quickly.

Expect more asteroid surprises in the future – there are reportedly over 100 million asteroids greater than 100m in our Solar System.

The one photographed, Vesta, is the second largest asteroid known with a 525 km diameter. (Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech)