Changing Planet

Watch as ‘the Beast’ Asteroid Sails Past Earth This Week

An asteroid zipping by the Earth moon system. Credit: ILLUSTRATION COURTESY P. CARRIL, ESA
Artwork showing an asteroid zipping by the Earth moon system. Credit: ILLUSTRATION COURTESY P. CARRIL, ESA

A giant asteroid will silently glide by Earth this week, a stark reminder of cosmic dangers lurking nearby.

Measuring about 1,067 feet (325 meters) wide, the space intruder nicknamed “the Beast,” more formally known as HQ124, has an estimated width equal to an aircraft carrier (earlier estimates had been even larger). It will be three lunar distances away from Earth at its closest approach on Thursday, so thankfully there is no risk to our planet.

However, it’s a big one and we didn’t notice its approach until April 23. While it’s nothing new, thanks to dedicated telescope surveys, to hear about asteroids whizzing past Earth or the moon, it is unusual to see such a large one go unnoticed for so long.

NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer picked up its movement against a fixed backdrop of stars, traveling at approximately 31,000 miles per hour (50,400 kilometers per hour).

Skychart showing the location of 'The Beast' asteroid as seen in the Southern Hemisphere skies this week. Credit:
Skychart showing the location of ‘The Beast’ asteroid as seen in the Southern Hemisphere skies this week. Credit:

Sky surveys have catalogued and are tracking approximately 90 percent of the potentially dangerous asteroids that are 3,200 feet (1,000 meters) and over in diameter. Those are the ones that have the potential to destroy continents on impact.

Only 30 percent of the 460-foot (140-meter) rocks have been accounted for, and unfortunately less than 1 percent of the 98-foot (30-meter) Earth-orbit crossers have been detected to date. While these may not be global killers, they have the potential to damage or destroy entire cities. A 2013 Russian asteroid strike damaged buildings and blew out windows across the Urals, for example.

“What’s disconcerting is that a rocky/metallic body this large, and coming so very close, should have only first been discovered this soon before its nearest approach. HQ124 is at least 10 times bigger, and possibly 20 times, than the asteroid that injured a thousand people last year in Chelyabinsk, Siberia,” said Bob Berman, an astronomer with Internet astronomy outreach venture Slooh.

“If it were to impact us, the energy released would be measured not in kilotons like the atomic bombs that ended World War II, but in H-bomb type megatons.”

Slooh will cover the flyby of the the Beast live on Thursday, June 5, starting at 11:30 a.m. PDT/2:30 p.m. EDT/6:30 p.m. UTC. For international times, visit .

Slooh will broadcast the event live from Australia, featuring time-lapse imagery from Slooh’s robotic observatory in Chile. Check out the live webcast below:

Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, on TwitterFacebook, and his website.

Andrew Fazekas, aka The Night Sky Guy, is a science writer, broadcaster, and lecturer who loves to share his passion for the wonders of the universe through all media. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic News and is the national cosmic correspondent for Canada’s Weather Network TV channel, space columnist for CBC Radio network, and a consultant for the Canadian Space Agency. As a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Andrew has been observing the heavens from Montreal for over a quarter century and has never met a clear night sky he didn’t like.
  • Gabby

    There’s no link after it says, “Check out the live webcast below:”

  • Hernan cortes

    Is very interesting to know the indefensible we are

  • Jackie

    There is no way too access link or website. Is this valid info? Does anyone know.

  • Kelvin

    Hi, May i know what time the Asteroid will fly past? is it visible with the naked eye?

  • Anand

    … so it’s little chunks land on us soon 🙁 !

  • jelle de soete

    I’m disepointed i tought i woud see more

  • chris

    is greece available to see him ??

  • Smruti

    on which time i can see it? my time zone is +5.30. On which direction on sky?

  • Jim Lind

    ‘Space intruder’?

    Maybe it didn’t read the sign.

    ‘Planet Earth, keep orf my land!’

    Give us a break.

  • Rex Dawson

    Play the Youtube Video

  • Hilco

    Time is here 20.00 in the evening Holland

  • Dan Swassing

    Can we send a probe, or attach a steering mechanism.

  • Sonia

    in about 5mins

  • Trish

    Still waiting……

  • WiccaChic

    Crazy they didn’t find it til recently… Coulda hit us before they found it

  • Farhan

    is the dot going to get any bigger ? can you please zoom in please slooh ugh !

  • avn rocky

    Dear Beast…

    Please change your path and destroy earth, where people are so greedy, mean and selfish… God created this world for humanity and its missing now a days.. we are just spoiling earth, spreading pollution and throwing garbage everywhere..

    That’s sad but its true. 🙁


  • Monica R

    Following the Broadcasting! Which distance is between the asteroid and Earth??

  • sabah zaim

    As kelvin said what time the Asteroid will fly past?

  • Spyro

    2:10 pm Central Time.

    Are the Southern States in America able to see the asteroid?

  • Roxanne

    Google Slooh and you can watch it live

  • Parsa

    Can its gravity affect on the earth?

  • emil walk


  • masihsalar

    I live in Iran I can see this??

  • She Irish

    First thing I noticed was that “the beast” looks like E.T.’s head lying down. I see a nose, mouth, and the eyes are shut.


  • adambu

    Can I see it

  • Cal

    This is something just to remind you all out there that there is a god and people may not want to believe in him bit just think for a while that he is the creator and he whole this world in his hands .

  • Stephen

    Maybe the biggest threat to mankind is the asteroids like beast rather than “aliens”,As we know dinosaurs lived in the earth for billions of years and extincted for the asteroid.Hope the doomsday is not too early.

  • Michael J. Flanagan

    She Irish-your right, it looks just like E.T., good eye.

  • Saitis Sarcitis

    Dear avn rocky,
    You sound like someone who can’t see the beauty and goodness in nature or humanity, and because of that I am truly sad for you.

  • Anonymous

    New life is coming soon xD

  • Luna

    Omg!!!!!! Hope it doesnt crash and wow what a magnificent news!

  • bhrigu

    What abt attaching a camera over d asteroid so that we can c more …i wish so attaching a camera on d tigers neck do discover their habitat

  • Ricky sidhu

    I think this is gravity impact nd love our planet ;-);-);-);-)

  • Ian Woodward

    Looks more like the turtle head from the disc world support to me.

  • german

    porque no le lanzan un misil, lo harian añicos, trocitos, ya hicieron ese experimento una vez. para eso si estoy de acuerdo que hagan misiles

  • Ertuğrul GENÇ


  • Alin Asaftei

    it’s going to hit O.o

  • Anish Maharjan

    i saw it on june 4th at 8 o clock in the night local time from my roof.

  • Cynthia

    @She Irish. I see ET too!

  • venancio flores jr

    Is Saudi or Philippines can see this what time?

  • nell

    can it be seen by all or not?

  • Erin

    Does an asteroid pick up debris and get bigger as it travels through space?

  • aL™

    If this beast has a trajectory hitting earth, it will be all over the news. This really show how our faith of humanity is not within our hands. Anytime, an asteroid bigger than this could hit the earth.

  • Graeme

    Mind blowing to think if an asteroid is ever discovered to be on impact with earth, one of this size, there is not much we could do about it….

    Space is so exciting

  • Alba

    Podrian traducir al español, sacan muchos articulos interesantes y muchos no entendemos el ingles. Gracias.

  • Trinity

    Im pretty sure i just seen it at 6.30am when i went to the bathroom (im staying in a caravan park in a remote area and walk outside to get to visit showers & bathrooms) its was alot bigger & brighter than a satellite and definitely not a plane 🙂

  • Tope

    Its interesting watching, but frightening & dangerous for such slooh or space rock of such magnitude at that deadly speed of 54,000km/hr to travel pass earth. Thank God no casualty. I remember the bang of asteroid on Russia and serbia. God save planet earth from deadly flying space rock.

  • Donna Whitaker

    I hope it doesn’t hit another asteroid and break apart and send large fragments into earths atmosphere like what happen in Russia.

  • Felipe Herrador

    Don’t worry, it’s just an out space national soccer team heading to Brazil for the word cup.

  • Felipe Herrador

    On my earlier comment: it is not for “word cup” it is for the world cup.

  • Samantha

    Has it gone yet?? i was just watching the sky at night on BBC 4 and they told viewers they could moniter stars in searchfor astroids and such in a time lapse of 10 mins on so i tried to find the said site and had no luck then stumbled across this and even though it said it wont hit im still scared so i hope its gone now and i can sleep and my hands can stop sweating lol and i can stop vigorously searching for answers

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