Watch a Huge Near-Earth Asteroid SAFELY Pass by Earth April 19!
Anyone who’s seen movies like Armageddon or Deep Impact knows that asteroids hitting Earth would be bad. Actually, even seemingly small space debris could cause global tragedy, no doubt. But, what if you could safely watch an asteroid pass by Earth? Well, your chance comes this month. In fact, a large Near-Earth Asteroid will pass closely, but safely by Earth on April 19!
Indeed, large asteroid 2014 JO25 is headed for Earth as we speak, according to NASA. However, before you scrounge canned foods and camp out like Y2K all over again, know that experts say we stand zero danger.
“Although there is no possibility for the asteroid to collide with our planet, this will be a very close approach for an asteroid of this size,” according to NASA’s statement.
How big is this Near-Earth Asteroid?
Sophisticated measurements taken by NASA’s NEOWISE space probe indicate a 2,000-foot width. In other words, around six NFL football fields. Basically, we should all be extremely thankful of 2014 JO25 missing our planet. Otherwise, debris of this size would certainly cause tremendous damage.
How close will this Near-Earth Asteroid get?
Upon the closest approach, April 19, the near-Earth asteroid will come within 1.1 million miles of Earth.
But, one million miles is a very long distance, right? Actually, when you consider this is only around 4 times the distance of our Moon, not that far!
In reality, a handful of very small asteroids pass by Earth within this distance, even weekly. However, more than 13 years have passed since we’ve detected a near-Earth asteroid of this great size.
How can I see the Near-Earth Asteroid?
While this particular Near-Earth Asteroid is the perfect storm of large, close and safe, not everyone will be able to spot it. Unfortunately, like many celestial events, a telescope or very powerful binoculars will be required.
Fortunately, this particular type of asteroid has a reflective surface, giving any optics a much greater chance of sighting! Not to mention, should you not have access to a telescope, you can watch the asteroid pass live online!
Next, you will want to know where to spot the Near-Earth Asteroid in the skies. Because the asteroid will be so close to Earth, its location will vary by region, and even city. However, NASA’s Ephemeris Generator will help you determine where to look!
Finally, for amateur telescopes, the asteroid will brighten as it approaches. Around sundown on April 18, the asteroid will be at around magnitude 17. Modest to large telescopes with dark skies may spot the Near-Earth-Asteroid.
However, during close-approach after dark on April 19 (around 8:00 pm EST), the asteroid will drop to magnitude 11. Now, even modest binoculars and small telescopes can spot the amazing sight!
Bottom line, it’s not often that a very large asteroid passes so close to our planet. If you’re able, get outdoors and look to the skies. After all, you could tell your grandchildren that you saw a Near-Earth Asteroid in real life!