Skyscraper-sized asteroid to zoom past Earth

  01 January 2022    Read: 471
Skyscraper-sized asteroid to zoom past Earth

A “potentially hazardous” asteroid more than twice the height of the Empire State Building will make a close encounter with Earth in January – and then won’t make its next visit for another 200 years.

The space rock, called (7482) 1994 PC1, is expected to whiz by our planet at a “close approach” distance of 0.013 astronomical units on Jan. 18, Newsweek reported, citing NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies.

But that translates to a quite comfortable distance of about 1.2 million miles, which is more than five times as far from Earth as the moon, according to the mag.

The asteroid is no slouch, though, at around 3,280 feet in diameter – roughly two and a half times the height of the iconic Big Apple skyscraper.

An asteroid of this size strikes Earth about every 600,000 years, according to EarthSky.

t will zoom by at about 44,000 mph before venturing off into another solar orbit and won’t be back until 2105, according to the space agency.

The large body was discovered on Aug. 9, 1994 – hence its designation – by Robert McNaught at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia, EarthSky reported.

Astronomers also found the asteroid in earlier images that date back to September 1974.  

Amateur sky watchers will be able to spot (7482) 1994 PC1 about 4:50 p.m. EST on Jan. 18. It will appear as a point of light passing in front of background stars during the evening.

The rock will shine at around magnitude 10 — a decent target for observers using a 6-inch or larger telescope.


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