According to NASA’s database for near-earth objects, a ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid that’s more than a mile-long is headed our way and makes its closest pass by our planet in centuries on May 27, 2022. The nearest this rock will get to us is at 9:26 AM CST, Friday Morning. The asteroid is labeled ‘potentially hazardous’ because it is an Apollo asteroid meaning it crosses earth’s orbit.
Origin of Asteroid ‘1989 JA’
Latest image of asteroid #1989JA safely coming at 4 millions of km from the Earth in a couple of days.— Virtual Telescope (@VirtualTelescop) May 25, 2022
Want to see it live from the comfort of your home? Check here: https://t.co/qO0SAZV1eC pic.twitter.com/z16SDOsqXX
As the name suggests the asteroid is discovered in 1989 by astronomer Eleanor Helin at Palomar observatory in Southern California.
Size And Speed
According to NASA, the asteroid is estimated to be 1.1 miles long or 5905 feet. For reference, the asteroid is twice the size of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world. NASA says there are nearly 29,000 near-Earth asteroids in space, but 1989 JA is one of 878 that is at least 3,280 feet wide. It’s heading in our planet’s direction at a speed of approximately 8.22 kilometers per second. To provide some context, that is 17 times the speed of a bullet through the air. At this speed, the asteroid could travel around the planet Earth in 45 minutes.
How Can You Watch It?
The object isn’t quite big enough or close enough to see with the naked eye, but it might be possible to see with a powerful telescope.
However, if you don’t have the equipment or ability to check this monster out for yourself, the Virtual Telescope Project based in Italy will be streaming an online watch party that you can attend via the feed below.
Do You Need To Worry?
An asteroid that large could cause catastrophe on Earth, but there is no need to worry. When 1989 JA makes its closest approach to Earth on Friday, it will be 2.5 million miles away, or about 10 times the distance to the moon.