The orbital path of the asteroid 2014 DX110, plotted by the NASA/JPL Solar System Dynamics Small-Body Database browser
(USATODAY.com) - Space is really, really big.
But that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of rocks whizzing around in it.
Which is why astronomers aren't packing up their cars and heading to the hills as a 90-foot asteroid swings between the Earth and Moon on Wednesday afternoon.
This latest one goes by the name 2014 DX110. It's getting a lot of attention as a "close approach," but NASA is urging the public to take it all with a grain of salt.
At its closest, the asteroid will be 217,000 miles away from the Earth. That's "9/10th of the distance to the Moon," said Lindley Johnson with NASA's Planetary Science Division in Washington D.C.
In other words, nowhere near spitting distance.
NASA's Near Earth Object Program Earth impact Risk Survey puts it at a one in 10,000,000 chance of hitting Earth.
The asteroid will be that close for about seven hours and will then fly back into space and leave us be.
Such close encounters are pretty par for the course, Johnson said.
"In the last year, 21 small asteroids ranging in size from 1 to 30 meters have come closer to Earth than this," he said. "The close approach of 2014 DX110 is really a non-event in our eyes."
But it's still cool.
Thousands of people are likely to log in to Slooh.com starting at 3.30 p.m. EST on Wednesday to see if the site's Canary Island telescope picks anything up and chat about what they're seeing.
To get a sense our busy skies, check out the Neighborhood Traffic Report.
The asteroid 2014 DX110 gets its scintillating name from the naming conventions of the Minor Planet Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. 2014 DX110 means it was the the 110th asteroid discovered in 2014. DX refers to the portion of the year it was discovered in.