Massive Asteroid to pass close to the Earth

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An asteroid NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) estimates is around 3,400 feet in diameter will pass near the Earth traveling  43,754 miles per hour. Or 12 miles per second. The massive asteroid is the equivalent of 1 kilometer or 0.62137 miles long.

 The huge space rock known as 7842 (1994 PC1) should pass safely by the Earth on January 18th. It was discovered in 1994 and this is the closest it will get to our planet for 200 years.

NASA categorizes the zooming asteroid as a “potentially hazardous”  near-Earth object (NEO). Any space rock more than 460 feet long that orbits within 4.6 million miles of the Earth, is viewed as a possible threat. And according to earthsky.org this asteroid will get within 1.2 million miles of us.

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It will pass within five times the diameter of the moon at its nearest point to Earth.

Massive asteroid traffic report

The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), managed by NASA’s California-based JPL tracks and monitors all asteroids and comets that come near the Earth. Several dozen near-earth objects fly by every year.

Asteroids are relatively small, space rocks left by the solar system’s formation about 4.5 billion years ago. They typically orbit the sun. And are located in a belt with thousands of asteroids and comets. Most asteroid activity is outside the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

 They are composed of a variety of rocks. And they all have distinct differences in size, shape and substance. Comets are icy space rocks which are trailed by fiery appearing tails.

In March 2021, another massive asteroid, Apophis, which measured over three hundred feet in circumference, passed 10.4 million miles from the Earth. That’s almost 44 times as far away as the moon.

Then back in July, the asteroid  “2008Go20,” sped past Earth at 18,000 miles per hour. That asteroid was estimated to be about the size of a football stadium.

Skywatchers may be able to see the light show with a telescope or binoculars . But it won’t be visible to the naked eye. On January 18th at 4:51 p.m. it should be at its closest point.You can also see it online at the Virtual Telescope Project which should have a live feed of the event.