Big, Shiny Asteroid to Fly (Safely) Past Earth on April 19

Apr 10, 2017

By Hanneke Weitering

A whopper of an asteroid will make a close approach to Earth on April 19. There’s no need to panic, though; NASA says it won’t collide with our planet. But it will get extremely close for an asteroid of that size.

Named 2014 JO25, this giant space rock measures approximately 2,000 feet (650 meters) across — about the height of the Shanghai Tower, China’s tallest building and the second-tallest building in the world. It will pass by Earth at a safe distance of 1.1 million miles (1.8 million kilometers), or nearly five times the distance between the Earth and the moon.

“Small asteroids pass within this distance of Earth several times each week, but this upcoming close approach is the closest by any known asteroid of this size, or larger, since asteroid Toutatis, a 3.1-mile (five-kilometer) asteroid, which approached within about four lunar distances in September 2004,” NASA officials said in a statement.

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3 comments on “Big, Shiny Asteroid to Fly (Safely) Past Earth on April 19

  • @OP link – NASA first learned of 2014 JO25 three years ago, when astronomers monitoring the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona spotted it with their telescopes.
    Sponsored by NASA’s Near-Earth Object (NEO) Observation Program, the survey searches for potentially Earth-threatening asteroids in the solar system.

    We really should be putting more money and effort into this work, – along with developing deflection systems for when we find Earth impactors!

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  • …NASA says it won’t collide with our planet.

    That’s the thing about science – it makes detailed testable predictions up-front (unlike vague or retrospective theistic ones), and they frequently are proved correct! – with further information added as more observations are made!

    A large asteroid the size of the Rock of Gibraltar has passed safely by Earth.

    This composite of 30 images of asteroid 2014 JO25 was generated using Nasa’s Goldstone Solar System Radar in California’s Mojave Desert
    {see link}

    The object, measured to be almost a kilometre wide, came within five times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

    Known as 2014 JO25, the asteroid is the biggest such space rock to skim our world since 2004.

    Astronomers say the best opportunity to view the rock will come in the dark hours of Wednesday night.

    Radar imagery using Nasa’s 70m (230 ft) antenna at the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California reveal a peanut-shaped asteroid that rotates about once every five hours.

    The asteroid passed Earth at a distance of 1.8 million km (1.1 million miles) at 13:24 BST on Wednesday, 19 April.

    The next known encounter of an asteroid of about this size will occur in 2027 when the 800m-wide (half-mile-wide) asteroid 1999 AN10 will fly by at one lunar distance, about 380,000 km (236,000 miles).

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