A massive asteroid measuring more than twice the size of the Empire State Building will whizz past earth in January, and will only make a reappearance 200 years from now.
The space rock, called 7482 (1994 PC1), is expected to come within 1.2 million miles of earth at a speed of 43,000 mph, and although NASA regards it as a "hazardous object" when it crosses earth's orbit as it travels around the sun, it poses no threat as it will be five times further away from the planet than the moon, according to the Daily Mail.
The asteroid was first discovered by Robert McNaught at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia, on Aug. 9, 1994. Astronomers also discovered earlier images of the asteroid dating back to September 1974, noted the New York Post.
Once the rock, which is 3,280ft in diameter, ventures off into another solar orbit, it won't be back until 2215. Amateur skywatchers will be able to spot the large body at around 4:50 p.m. EST on Jan. 18. It will have a magnitude of 10, putting it out of reach for the naked eye but making it a decent target for observers using a six-inch or larger telescope.
Asteroid 1994 PC1 is not the only space rock to come hurtling past earth. On Jan. 2, the 2021 YK, which measures 38ft across, will come within 118,000 miles of the earth, and on Jan 8. the 70ft asteroid 2021 BA will come within 2.3 million miles of the planet. That equates to about twice as far away as 1994 PC1.
NASA and other space agencies are constantly searching and tracking asteroids and plotting their courses to determine whether or not they pose a threat of colliding with the planet.
"Although there isn't a currently known asteroid that's on an impact course with the Earth, we do know that there is a large population of near-earth asteroids out there," said Lindley Johnson, NASA's Planetary Defense Officer, according to Daily Mail.
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