A Massive Asteroid Will Fly by Earth Wednesday

Getty Images / Bill Ingalls/NASA

On April 19, us Earthlings will have an opportunity to watch a massive asteroid hurtle past the planet.

Scientists have been waiting for this near-Earth asteroid, known as 2014 JO25, since it first appeared as a fuzzy ball in the Catalina Sky Survey in May 2014.

is about 2,000 feet wide and will flyby just 1.1 millions away — almost five times the distance of the moon from Earth. Although this is incredibly close, scientists say there is nothing to fear and that it will fly by “safely.”

It is a very bright object, about twice as reflective as the moon and will probably shine at a magnitude 11, or ten times the brightness of the North Star.

Scientists aren’t entirely sure what the chemical properties of the asteroid are, but are eager to catch a glimpse on April 19.

How to See Asteroid JO25 on April 19

Amateur stargazers will also have the opportunity to watch as it should be visible with a small-optical telescope. The asteroid will be coming from the same direction as the sun and could be visible for two nights, but will quickly fade as Earth’s rotation progresses.

Earth hasn’t been greeted by this asteroid for centuries, according to NASA. “The encounter on April 19 is the closest this asteroid has come to Earth for at least the last 400 years and will be its closest approach for at least the next 500 years,” the NASA statement says.

The next big space object to compare to JO25 is asteroid 1999 AN10, which will approach our orbit in 2027. But, it is half a mile wide, and will be about 236,000 miles away. So, unless you can wait another decade, you won’t want to miss this.

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