A huge asteroid four times the size of the Empire State Building is heading in that direction Earth – and you can watch live as it flows safely in the night sky.
The asteroid was compiled 7335 (1989 JA)orbits The sun once every about 570 days, occasionally jumping more or less close to Earth for the convenience of astronomers. On Friday (May 27), the rock will be hovering about 2.5 million miles (4 million kilometers) from our planet – or almost 10 times the average distance between Earth and the moon around 10:26 a.m. EDT (2:26 UTC). This is too far to see with the naked eye, but you might be able to spot it with a really powerful telescope, according to CNET (opens in new tab). Or you can watch the asteroid pass live on Virtual telescope project (opens in new tab)his website. The flow starts on Thursday (May 26) at 9:00 p.m. EDT (Friday, 1:00 am UTC).
While all calculations show a clear loss, NASA has characterized it asteroid “Potentially dangerous”, due to its enormous size (1.1 miles or 1.8 km in diameter) and the relatively close distance from the orbit of our planet. It will be the largest asteroid approaching Earth all year, according to NASA, and the space rock is estimated to be moving at a speed of about 47,200 mph (76,000 km / h) – or 20 times faster than a spherical ball from a rifle.
Related: What are the largest impact craters on Earth?
Asteroid 7335 (1989 JA) will not make another short flight until June 23, 2055, when it will pass about 70 times farther from Earth than the moon.
This asteroid is one of more than 29,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs) that NASA monitors each year. NEO refers to any astronomical object that will travel about 30 million miles (48 million km) from Earth. Most of these items are extremely small. The 7335 (1989 JA) measures more than about 99% of the NEOs followed by NASA, the agency said.
7335 (1989 JA) is also an asteroid of the Apollo class – a classification that refers to asteroids orbiting the sun periodically orbiting the Earth, previously reported by Live Science. Astronomers know about 15,000 such asteroids.
Asteroid 7335 (1989 JA) is considered potentially dangerous because it could cause enormous damage to our planet if it changes its orbit in a way that puts the rock in a collision course with Earth. In addition to tracking potential space rocks that pose a threat, NASA has also begun testing the ability to hit a potentially dangerous asteroid from its course using rockets launched from Earth.
In November 2021, NASA launched a spacecraft called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which will collide head-on with the 530-foot-wide (160 meters) asteroid Dimorphos in the fall of 2022. (Dimorphos is not in collision with Earth, but it is close enough and large enough to be a tempting target for the mission). The collision will not completely destroy the asteroid, but can slightly change the orbital path of the rockpreviously reported by Live Science.
Originally published in Live Science.