Several times a week, a lot of small asteroids go past the Earth and some even enter the planet’s atmosphere yet because of their size and the fact that most of the material gets burned in the atmosphere at entry, anyway, these space rocks are of no interest to many of us – and scientists are not even concerned at all.
But this April 19, 2017, a huge asteroid will be on a near-miss course with the Earth. Is there reason for us to be afraid? Well, according to NASA calculations, there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Asteroid 2014-JO25 is estimated to be around 650 meters (2,000 feet) across and will come at a distance that is less than five times the distance between the Earth and the moon. That does sound a little scary, right?
But considering that the actual distance of 2014-JO25 from the Earth will be about 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles), we’re pretty sure that there’s no chance at all that this behemoth will hit us.
Still, 2014-JO25 has caught the interest of professional astronomers and amateur stargazers alike in that it is believed to have a surface that is twice as reflective as that of the moon; thus, it will surely be a bright spot in the sky once it flies close.
The asteroid will be visible using a small optical telescope for at least one night; although it might extend its visibility for at least one night more.
NASA admits that this is a “near-miss”, considering the asteroid’s size.
“Although there is no possibility for the asteroid to collide with our planet, this will be a very close approach for an asteroid this size,” NASA said in a statement.
Amazingly, a comet will also be visible on April 19. PanSTARRS can be viewed in the dawn sky using a small telescope or even a pair of binoculars. There is also no cause for panic because the comet will be 175 million kilometers (109 million miles).
If 2014-JO25 was ‘safe’ at 1.8 million kilometers, Earthlings have nothing to worry about with a comet 175 million kilometers away!