Astronomers have their eyes on a large and “potentially hazardous” asteroid scheduled to make a fairly close pass by Earth on Tuesday.
“The asteroid, called 7482 (1994 PC1), is expected to fly by our planet around 4:51 p.m. ET, at about five times the distance from the Earth to the Moon,” Fox News reported.
In a social media post Wednesday, NASA Asteroid Watch said the rock was well known and had been studied for many years by the agency’s experts.
“Rest assured, 1994 PC1 will safely fly past our planet 1.2 million miles away next Tues., Jan. 18,” the post read:
Near-Earth #asteroid 1994 PC1 (~1 km wide) is very well known and has been studied for decades by our #PlanetaryDefense experts. Rest assured, 1994 PC1 will safely fly past our planet 1.2 million miles away next Tues., Jan. 18.
— NASA Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) January 12, 2022
The rock boasts a diameter of approximately 3,451 feet and is bigger than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and over twice the size of the Empire State Building located in New York City, according to the Fox article.
It will also be moving at a speed of about 45,000 mph when it passes Earth.
Although it will not make contact with our planet, NASA described 1994 PC1 as a “potentially hazardous object” due to its size and distance from Earth.
According to NASA’s Asteroid Watch website, “Near-Earth objects are asteroids and comets with orbits that bring them to within 120 million miles (195 million kilometers) of the Sun, which means they can circulate through the Earth’s orbital neighborhood.”
The site continued:
The majority of near-Earth objects have orbits that don’t bring them very close to Earth, and therefore pose no risk of impact, but a small fraction of them – called potentially hazardous asteroids – require more attention. These objects are defined as asteroids that are more than about 460 feet (140 meters) in size with orbits that bring them as close as within 4.6 million miles (7.5 million kilometers) of Earth’s orbit around the Sun. CNEOS continuously monitors all known near-Earth objects to assess any impact risk they may pose.
The asteroid is currently being watched and tracked on NASA’s Eyes on Asteroids website.