A “potentially hazardous” asteroid that measures more than a mile tall will zoom past Earth this week, and the biggest asteroid is anticipated to get fairly close to our planet in 2022.
According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, the asteroid, called 1989 JA, is calculated to be 1.1 miles long or 5,905 feet. For citation, the asteroid is twice as big as that of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the highest building in the world.
NASA announces that there are nearly 29,000 near-Earth asteroids in space, but 1989 JA is one of 878, at least 3,280 feet wide.
Franck Marchis, chief scientific officer of the telescope company Unistellar and senior planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute, instructed U.S. TODAY that the asteroid is wandering at about 30,000 mph.
“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,” Marchis said.
Found in 1989 by astronomer Eleanor Helin at the Palomar Observatory in Southern California, the asteroid is tagged “Potentially Hazardous” because it is an Apollo asteroid. It passes over Earth’s orbit.
The Virtual Telescope Project will Livestream asteroid drifting past Earth on Thursday and Friday in partnership with Telescope Live. The livLivestreamll air from Chile on Thursday at 7 p.m. EST and Argentina on Friday at 9 a.m. EST.