Giant asteroid and comet to fly safely past Earth on April 19!

Imaging Camera image of earth

Astronomers are constantly on the lookout for slippery asteroids passing through Earth's neighborhood.

The astronomers at Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona first spotted 2014 JO25 in May 2014.

The fetchingly named 2014-JO25 asteroid will pass Earth at the comfortable remove of some 1.1 million miles, or about four times that of the distance between our planet and the moon.

According to NASA, the very big boulder called named 2014-J25 is roughly 650 metres (2,000 feet) across, and comes within 1.1 million miles of Earth, less than five times the distance of the Earth from the Moon. It is equal to 4.6 times the distance between Earth and Moon.

This survey is sponsored by Nasa's Near-Earth Object (NEO) Observation Program, and looks for potentially Earth-threatening asteroids in the solar system.

This space rock was found to be twice more reflective than Moon, according to NASA's NEOWISE mission. At this time very little else is known about the object's physical properties, even though its trajectory is well known.

The astronomers and researchers will get ample opportunity to witness and analyse as much as they want about the space rock on April 19, as it can be seen from a nearer distance. The luminosity of the asteroid is estimated to increase to magnitude 11.

"Although there is no possibility for the asteroid to collide with our planet, this will be a very close approach for an asteroid this size", stated the USA space agency.

Astronomers say that earth is often visited by small asteroids at close proximity many times in a week.

This is expected to be the last close encounter with a large asteroid for the next ten years - in 2027, the 800-metre 199-AN10 asteroid will come as close as 380000 km. 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.

On the same day, that is April 19, a comet PanSTARSS (C/2015 ER61) will fly pass Earth at a safe distance of 175 million kilometres. NASA said that it is visible in the dawn sky with binoculars or a small telescope.



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