A “potentially dangerous” asteroid more than twice the height of the Empire State Building will soon encounter Earth in January — after which it won’t make its next visit for another 200 years.
The space rock, called (7482) 1994 PC1, is expected to shine near our planet at a “close” distance of 0.013 AU on January 18, Newsweek reportedQuoted from NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.
But that translates to a very comfortable distance of about 1.2 million miles, which is more than five times as far from Earth as the Moon, according to Mag.
The asteroid isn’t flabby, though, at about 3,280 feet in diameter — roughly twice and a half the height of the famous Big Apple skyscraper.
An asteroid of this size hits Earth approximately every 600,000 years. According to EarthSky.
It will zoom in at about 44,000 miles per hour before venturing into another solar orbit and not return until 2105, according to the space agency.
The large body was discovered on August 9, 1994 – hence the name – by Robert McNutt at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia, EarthSky reports.
Astronomers also found the asteroid in earlier images dating back to September 1974.
Amateur skywatchers will be able to spot (7482) 1994 PC1 at approximately 4:50 p.m. EDT on Jan. 18. It will appear as a point of light passing in front of the background stars during the evening.
The rock will shine brightly by 10 degrees – a decent target for observers with a 6-inch or larger telescope.