It will pass within 1.2 million miles of our planet, moving at 47,344 miles per hour (76,193 kilometers per hour), according to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies
, which tracks potentially hazardous comets and asteroids that could collide with our planet.
The approaching asteroid is known as 7482 (1994 PC1), and it was discovered in 1994, according to NASA.
Nobody expects 7482 (1994 PC1) to hit Earth, but it’s the closest the asteroid will come for the next two centuries, according to NASA projections. The asteroid is expected to be at its nearest to our planet at 4.51 p.m. ET.
It won’t be the largest asteroid ever to sweep past Earth. That honor belongs to the asteroid 3122 Florence (1981 ET3), which flew by and missed colliding with Earth on September 1, 2017. That asteroid is estimated to be between 2.5 miles and 5.5 miles wide, and it will make another pass on September 2, 2057.
NASA described 7482 (1994 PC1) as “bridge size.”
Asteroids, and other near-Earth objects, zip past our planet multiple times a week.
In addition to 7482 (1994 PC1), three other asteroids will pass by Earth on Tuesday, according to NASA
. However, none of the objects — which range from bus to airplane-size — are as big as 7482 (1994 PC1); nor will they pass as close.
While the asteroid is unlikely to be visible today with the naked eye, amateur astronomers with a small telescope should be able to spot it, according to the website EarthSky.com.
In September this year, a NASA spacecraft will deliberately crash into an asteroid to change its motion in space — testing technology developed to deflect an asteroid hit.
Known as the DART mission
, or the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, the spacecraft is aiming for Dimorphos, a small moon orbiting the near-Earth asteroid Didymos.
Near-Earth objects are asteroids and comets with orbits that place them within 30 million miles (48 million kilometers) of Earth. Detecting the threat of near-Earth objects, or NEOs, that could potentially cause grave harm is a primary focus of NASA and other space organizations around the world.