NASA has classified an asteroid as a “Near-Earth object” that will make its closest approach to our planet for the next 200 years. It’s set to pass by our planet today (Tuesday) around 1:51PM Pacific Standard Time.
As it passes by, viewers can wave hello to 7482 (1994 PC1) while it travels at a steadfast speed of approximately 43.754 mph. NASA has gauged the speed and time in which it is expected to be visible to on-lookers.
“Near-Earth #asteroid 1994 PC1 (~1 km wide) is very well known and has been studied for decades by our #PlanetaryDefense experts,” tweeted NASA last week. “Rest assured, 1994 Pc1 will safely fly past our planet 1.2 million miles away.”
To provide some perspective, the asteroid is more than twice the size of the Empire State Building, a staggering 3,451 feet in diameter.
Given its massive size and distance from Earth, NASA still considers the asteroid to be a “potentially hazardous object” despite there being no threat of contact with our planet.
NASA has an “eyes on asteroid” website that’s tracking the space chunk in real-time, so those interested will be able to check out the stream when it approaches and passed by Earth later today.
Those expecting to be able to step outside and look up to see it should know that it won’t be big enough to see with the naked eye. A small telescope should be sufficient, however, reports EarthSky.
Virtual Telescope Project will also have a livestream available for those without a telescope starting at 12pm Pacific Standard Time today.
The space rock will make two passes by Earth this year – the one coming today that will be 1.2 million miles away, and again on July 3rd when it’ll be 41.2 million miles away. After that, the next ‘close-approach’ won’t happen until 2033, says NASA.