A ‘Potentially Hazardous’ Half Mile Wide Asteroid Is Heading Towards Earth At 43,754 MPH

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 7482 1994 PC1 Heading Towards Earth

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  • ‘Potentially Hazardous’ Asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) is set to have a close encounter with Earth next week.
  • The asteroid is more than half a mile wide, or two and a half times as tall as the Empire State Building.
  • Read more news about asteroids here.

Mark your calendars, because on Tuesday, January 18 at 4:51 p.m. ET Asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) will be zipping by Earth for a little visit at around 43,754 MPH.

No big deal.

Asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 is no tiny space rock either. It measures in at around 3,609 feet wide, or more than twice the size of the height of the Empire State Building (1,454 feet), or larger than 99 percent of all asteroids.

According to NASA, Asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 is considered to be a “potentially hazardous” asteroid “because the gravitational tug of the planets could, over time, cause an object’s orbital path to evolve into an Earth-crossing orbit. This allows for the possibility of a future collision.”

It will be zooming by Earth at a distance of 0.01324 astronomical units, or 1.231 million miles, which at first glance doesn’t seem very close.

In fact, this will be the closest Asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 has come to Earth since January 17, 1933. Close enough, and fast enough, for some amateur astronomers to be able to spot the Apollo-class asteroid with their telescopes at home.

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 7482 1994 PC1

NASA-JPL


For reference, the moon is 238,855 miles from Earth, while the planet Mars is 245.22 million miles away.

EarthSky.org says “an asteroid of this size strikes Earth approximately every 600,000 years.”

Assuming it doesn’t smash into Earth, and it’s not supposed to (assuming that the Yarkovsky Effect, which can change an asteroid’s orbital path, doesn’t occur), and if you don’t have a telescope, the Virtual Telescope Project will be live-streaming the event.

If you do have your own telescope, here’s how to find Asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 in the sky.