The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has said that a huge asteroid will be passing by Earth at a distance of 6.2 million km on 29 April. As indicated in the agency's database, this space rock is now moving towards Earth at a speed of over 19,000 miles per hour.
As the asteroid approaches its closest position to Earth, scientists at the Arecibo Observatory are not the only experts tracking its movements. Dubbed as 1998 OR2, the asteroid has been categorized as "a potentially hazardous object".
When will be the closest approach of the asteroid to Earth?
It's also worth noting that the asteroid has been classed as a potentially hazardous object, considering the fact that it's larger than 140 meters and it's poised to come within five million miles of Earth's orbit.
Though it is known as a close approach by astronomers, it's still very far away from earth.
Not visible to naked eye- telescopes: On day of its closest approach it will shine at 11 Magnitude so this asteroid is not visible to naked eye but can be spotted with the help of astronomical telescopes.
The Virtual Telescope Project operated by astronomer Gianluca Masi, will be providing a live stream of the asteroid's journey past Earth, Newsweek reports. That's still 16 times farther than the distance between Earth and the moon.
Those plans range from sending a spacecraft to nudge the object onto a course safely away from Earth, or, if there was much less time, using nuclear weapons to break up or destroy the object.
Astronomers have tracked this asteroid for 22 years now and are certain it does not pose any threat to Earth for at least 200 years.
Over 17,000 near-Earth asteroids remain undetected in our solar neighborhood.
That respect has a place with the space rock 3122 Florence (1981 ET3), which flew by and fortunately missed slamming into Earth on September 1, 2017. NASA's Planetary Defense Officer and program executive of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office, however, told Space.com that such relief should not breed complacency. Nearly all near-Earth asteroids (about 98%) of the size of 1998 OR2 or larger have already been discovered, tracked and cataloged.