Asteroid 1998 QE2, also called (285263) 1998 QE2, is approximately 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) wide and 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) long. In addition, it is composed of rock and ice, with a sooty, tar-like substance on its exterior, probably due to its close encounters with the Sun.
The asteroid was discovered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project on August 19, 1998, which is located near Socorro, New Mexico.
Its closest approach to Earth is at 1:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on Friday, and 6:59 a.m. Saturday June 1, 2013, in Australia/Sydney.
At that point, it will be approximately 3.6 million miles (5.8 million kilometers) from Earth. That distance is equivalent between distance of the Earth and the Moon (239,000 miles [385,000 kilometers] times 15).
Luckily for us, it will miss Earth on Friday. So, good news Earthlings!!
According to the TG Daily article Asteroid 1998 QE2 to sail past Earth 9x larger than cruise ship, the asteroid will be valuable to astronomers who study such NEOs. The article quotes Lance Benner, an American radar astronomer and the principal investigator for the Goldstone radar observations from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Benner states, "Asteroid 1998 QE2 will be an outstanding radar imaging target at Goldstone and Arecibo and we expect to obtain a series of high-resolution images that could reveal a wealth of surface features. Whenever an asteroid approaches this closely, it provides an important scientific opportunity to study it in detail to understand its size, shape, rotation, surface features, and what they can tell us about its origin."
"We will also use new radar measurements of the asteroid's distance and velocity to improve our calculation of its orbit and compute its motion farther into the future than we could otherwise."
For more on this story, please read the May 24, 2013 Phys.org article “Dark, massive asteroid to fly by Earth on May 31”.