Big Asteroid To Pass 'Very Close' To Earth On Wednesday

- A somewhat large asteroid nearly 1 mile in length will fly within 1.1 million miles of Earth on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. That distance is about 4.6 times the distance from the Earth to the moon. There is no possibility the asteroid will collide with us, but it will be a very close approach, especially for an asteroid of this size.



The asteroid, named 2014 JO25, was discovered in May 2014 by astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona. It will approach Earth from the direction of the sun and will be visible in the night sky after April 19. Best times are early in the morning hours on Wednesday and again on Wednesday night. It is predicted to brighten to about magnitude +11, which makes it visible for a couple nights in some amateur telescopes. If you’d like to find it in the night sky, look to the left of Jupiter. A more detailed location can be found on the EarthSky website here.

If you’d like to watch the asteroid flyby online, visit Space.com’s webcast here. This is the largest asteroid to pass near us since asteroid Toutatis, a 3.1-mile asteroid back in September 2004. The next known asteroid flyby of comparable size will be in 2027 when the half-mile wide asteroid 1999 AN10 will pass by at one lunar distance, or 236,000 miles. The flyby on Wednesday is the closest this asteroid has come to Earth for at least the last 400 years and will be its closest approach for the next 500 years.
 

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