The asteroid is 3 times as tall as the Empire State Building will land on Earth next week

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The asteroid is 3 times as tall as the Empire State Building will land on Earth next week

The asteroid is considered a near-Earth object that’s potentially hazardous, that’s because of its massive size and its close orbit around the Sun that brings the asteroid close to Earth.

The space rock was first seen by Robert McNaught from the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia on August 9, 1994. Using its trajectory, astronomers discovered earlier observations of the asteroid that date all the way back to the year 1974.

Asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 measures around 3,280 feet in diameter, or 1.1 kilometers, which is three and a half times as tall as the Eiffel Tower.

The asteroid orbits the Sun once every 1.57 years. That means it drags behind the Earth as it orbits around the Sun, crossing Earth’s orbit approximately once every 30 years or so.

Story Highlights

  • Asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 is 1.1 kilometers in diameter — that’s two and a half times as tall as the Empire State Building. This giant space rock will speed by the planet on January 18 at a safe distance of 1.2 million miles, and that may be close enough for some amateur astronomers to catch a glimpse of it from their backyards.

  • When was Asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 discovered?

When is Asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 flying by Earth?

The asteroid will swing by Earth on January 18 at 4:51 p.m. Eastern.

It will be at a distance of 1.2 million miles away from Earth, or more than five times the distance between Earth and the Moon. This will be the closest approach between this asteroid and Earth for at least the next 200 years. The space rock will be traveling at a speedy 43,754 miles per hour.

1994 PC1 as seen by the Osservatorio Astronomico di Sormano in Italy.Osservatorio Astronomico di Sormano Is Asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 dangerous?

Due to its larger-than-life size, the asteroid has gotten the unflattering label of being “apocalyptic” by some media outlets. But that’s unfair. Although large, the asteroid is at a safe enough distance that puts it at a trajectory far away from Earth. However, the asteroid is categorized as a near-Earth, potentially hazardous asteroid by NASA. If an asteroid comes within 4.6 million miles and is larger than about 150 meters, then it is deemed a potentially hazardous object, according to NASA.

Here’s where to look for 1994 PC1. Tom Ruen How you can watch Asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1?

For this particular asteroid, if its trajectory does bring it on a collision course with Earth in the distant future, the result would be devastating. But that likely won’t happen. NASA’s Near Earth Object program puts together a list of asteroids that swing by our Solar System and calculates the likelihood of an impact with Earth for each of them over the next 100 years.