A tiny asteroid is to make a very close approach with Earth today (Sept. 7), zooming harmlessly by at a distance of only 23,900 miles (38,500 kilometers) -- around 10 times closer to Earth than the moon.
The space rock was spotted by the Mt. Lemmon Survey's 60-inch telescope near Tucson, Ariz., on Sept. 5 and it quickly became clear that the asteroid, called 2016 RB1, was going to breeze by and not impact our atmosphere. It is set to make its closest approach at 1:28 p.m. ET.
RELATED: No, Asteroid Bennu Won't Destroy Earth
There is a little uncertainty in its size, with estimates putting it between 4-14 meters (13-46 ft) wide. As a comparison, the meteor that exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in 2013 was thought to be around 17 meters (56 ft) wide, causing over 1,000 injuries and structural damage when the shock wave made contact with the ground.
It is not known what material 2016 RB1 is made of, but if it was to hit Earth, it would most likely mostly burn up in the atmosphere with significantly less energy than the 2013 event. And as 70% of the planet is ocean, the impact would likely go unnoticed except, perhaps, by global infrasound stations and military satellites.
RELATED: Newfound Asteroid Just Buzzed Earth
As astronomical surveys become more sophisticated, astronomers are getting very good at seeing smaller chunks of space rock before they get close, an ability that was dramatically showcased in 2008 when the Catalina Sky Survey saw a dinky 3-meter (10 ft) asteroid, called 2008 TC3, on a collision course with our planet. The discoverers were able to identify the region and time of impact with great precision, making 2008 TC3 the first Earth-impactor to be identified 19 hours before it hit. Meteorite hunters even found fragments of the resulting meteor scattered over the Sudan's Nubian Desert.
WATCH VIDEO: Wait, Gold Came From Asteroids?