Potentially Hazardous Asteroid Makes Closest Earth Approach on January 18; Here's How You Can Watch It!

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid Makes Closest Earth Approach on January 18; Here’s How You Can Watch It!
An enormous asteroid the size of two Empire State Building is scheduled to fly by Earth on January 18. The event will be streamed live on selected channels. Photo : NASA/Newsmakers

An enormous asteroid the size of two Empire State Building is scheduled to fly by Earth on January 18. The event will be streamed live on selected channels.

Massive asteroids are generally a threat to Earth. For reference, an asteroid the size of an apartment can completely flatten a small city, per Space Camp Turkey. This means the asteroid coming next week could spell complete catastrophe for the planet.

Fortunately, the asteroid is not on a collision course to Earth. Instead, it will fly by from a relatively safe distance in space.

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid: NASA Asteroid Warning

According to LiveScience, the incoming space rock called Asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 measures approximately 3,609 feet (1,100 meters) long. It will pass by Earth closest on January 18 at 4:51 PM EST (9:51 PM GMT). Its traveling speed will be around 43,754 mph (70,415 km/h), and it will pass by a distance of 0.01324 astronomical units or 1.2 million miles from Earth.

Astronomer Robert H. McNaught first spotted this asteroid on August 9, 1994, hence the namesake. Researchers observed its trajectory and discovered that it would orbit the Sun once every 572 days. In fact, this asteroid sailed past Earth on January 17, 1933, for about 699.000 miles. After this year, Asteroid 7482 is expected to come close to Earth again in 2105.

NASA officially classified this asteroid as a potentially hazardous threat to the planet. The rating is given because of its sheer size over 460 feet. The incoming asteroid is also called a near-Earth object (NEO) because its flight path will take it within 30 million miles of Earth's orbital path. However, in terms of safety, this asteroid is still pretty far away from Earth.

For reference, NASA typically records more than 28,000 NEOs within a year. Experts predict that in the future, after advanced survey telescopes are deployed into space, there will be even more NEO discoveries to watch out for.

Read Also: China's 'Artificial Sun' Hotter Than the Sun; Nuclear Fusion Reactor Smashes Record

Asteroid 7482 and Asteroid 2013 YD48

It is worth noting that Asteroid 7482 is not the only NEO to fly close to Earth this month. According to an earlier report, another space rock called Asteroid 2013 YD48 had passed by on January 11. This asteroid was 340 feet broad and came within 4.6 million miles of Earth.

How to Watch Asteroid 7482 Online

Fans who are interested in watching these potentially hazardous asteroids can watch them on The Virtual Telescope WebTV. The website said they would stream the event starting January 18, 8 PM UTC. Interested fans should visit the website an hour ahead of the schedule so they can watch the introduction. This is a free-for-use website, so fans can watch it withough paying subscription fees. 

Also note that fans who prefer to watch the night sky might still see the asteroid next week. It should especially be visible for people situated on the northern hemisphere. However, fans need to prepare a backyard telescope and choose a dark location to maximize the experience. View times might vary depeding on the watcher's location on Earth.

Related Article: New NASA Space Telescope Could End Cosmic Dark Age; Simulated Photo Shows Power to Capture Millions of Galaxies!

© 2022 iTech Post All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

More from iTechPost