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‘Potentially Hazardous’ Asteroid Speeds Towards Earth

Apr 05, 2017 05:48 AM EDT
XSP: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera Images
An asteroid recently passed by Earth in a very close distance. Another is set to fly by Earth.
(Photo : NASA/ESA via Getty Images)

The idea of a random asteroid hurtling towards the planet is a terrifying picture, but it's an event astronomers will hopefully be able to foresee with modern tools and technology. No armageddon is set to hit in the foreseeable future, but one heavenly object will come pretty close to grazing Earth on April 19: the Asteroid 2014 JO25.

According to a report from RT, the one-kilometer wide asteroid is speeding in the direction of Earth at a distance that spurred astronomers to label it as a "potentially hazardous asteroid". However, the planet is not expected to be in any danger and the asteroid will likely fly by safely.

It's a significantly close distance though. Potentially hazardous asteroids are those that are bigger than 100 meters and passes by Earth at a point nearer than 19.5 lunar distances or 7,495,839 kilometers. 2014 JO25 will be getting as close as 4.57 lunar distances or 1.8 million kilometers to Earth.

NASA said that the April 19 flyby is the closest 2014 JO25 will be to the planet in 400 years. Future encounters aren't expected to be as close for another 480 years.

Even other asteroids that are around this impressive size aren't projected to come as close to Earth in the next 10 years. The next will be in August 2027.

There are a few surprises up in space, though. Just last April 3, astronomers discovered the existence of Asteroid 2017 GM, according to a report from Earth Sky. The next day, the asteroid came alarmingly close to Earth at just 0.04 lunar distances or 16,000 kilometers away. This is one of the 10 closest asteroids to pass by Earth, coming at less than 1/20th of the moon's mean distance at its closest point.

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