Asteroid 4x bigger than Empire State Building captured by NASA. Stunning!
An astronomer at The Virtual Telescope Project has captured a breathtaking photo of a gigantic asteroid nearly four times bigger than the Empire state building. The mile-wide asteroid hurtling toward Earth looks stunning against the backdrop of space. The space rock is likely to make a close pass by Earth from a distance of 2.5 million miles on May 27. According to Nasa's Jet Propulsion Lab records this is the 12th time since 1916 that this asteroid has dazzled Earth. It is expected to come again around 2029. Though it will pass our planet from a safe distance, NASA has still categorised the asteroid as a "potentially hazardous object."
"The potentially hazardous asteroid...is almost at its safe, minimum distance from us, being now very bright," shared Gianluca Masi, an astronomer leading The Virtual Telescope Project. The astronomer further shared that the Virtual Telescope Project will host two live streams today when the asteroid passes Earth from a distance of 4 million Kms. The potentially hazardous asteroid (7335) 1989 JA has an estimated diameter of 1.8 km making it quite bright to be visible through small instruments.
How are asteroids classified into near-Earth objects?
Any space rock that comes within 30 million miles of Earth is categorised as a "near-Earth object" by NASA. The asteroid "7335 (1989 JA)", is classified as "potentially hazardous object" as it will come within five million miles of Earth. It was discovered by Eleanor Helin on May 1, 1989, from Palomar Observatory. According to NASA, it will reach its minimum distance of about 4 millions of km, almost 10.5 times the average lunar distance from us on May 27, 2022, at 14:26 UTC.
What are asteroids?
Asteroids are small, rocky objects leftover from the solar system's formation around some 4.5 billion years ago. They orbit the sun and mostly reside in the between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, also known as asteroid belt. They are made of different kinds of rocks, and hence, no two asteroids are alike.