This month, skygazing enthusiasts will see an asteroid flying by Earth on the closest path to the planet such a cosmic object has performed since 2004. The asteroid we are going to witness does not have an impressive name, but it will surely have an impressive journey. Its name is 2014 JO25.
In 2004, asteroid Toutatis, which bore a striking resemblance to a potato, flew by Earth less than one million miles away from it. Now, 2014 JO25 will make a closer journey, which will also represent the closest flyby it has ever performed in 400 years.
The first time in more than a decade when a big asteroid flies by Earth
The path of 2014 JO25 will be visible with a telescope on April 19th. It will pass next to Earth only 1.1 million miles away from it, which represents almost 4.6 times the distance from our planet to the moon. NASA insists that there is no danger, so everybody can calm down. They say that there is absolutely no chance that this asteroid would collide with Earth.
What is amazing about this asteroid is the fact that it is quite big for such a small distance between it and Earth. There is quite typical for small asteroids to fly by Earth so close, but 2014 JO25 is around 2,000 feet wide. Actually, this will represent the first encounter with such a big asteroid since 2004.
NASA researchers found out when another asteroid will come so close to Earth. It will happen in 2027, when 1999 AN10, measuring around half a mile in width, will fly by Earth only 236,000 miles away from it. Again, they say that there is no risk of collision with this asteroid.
In 2014, astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey, Arizona, discovered what is known today as 2014 JO25. They noticed its size and the fact that it is twice as reflective as the moon. This will represent the closest encounter with Earth ever occurred in 400 years. Also, astronomers say that this asteroid might come again as close to Earth only after 500 years.
2014 JO25 will come from the direction of the sun, thus it might be a little tough to spot it with the naked eye. However, if you use a telescope, you will be able to see its path. It will reach the closest point to Earth in the morning, but you can witness a more beautiful view if you wait until nightfall.
Make sure you do not miss this opportunity, as big asteroids flying close to Earth are quite a rarity, and you can get the chance to witness something beautiful you will always remember.
Image Source: Pixabay