(PatriotWise.com)- An asteroid measuring twice the height of the Empire State Building will be passing close to Earth later this month.
But before you welcome the Sweet Meteor of Death, by “close,” NASA means about 1.2 million miles away. That’s five times the distance than the Earth’s distance from the moon.
The asteroid, named 1994 PC1 is expected to whiz past on January 18 at a speed of about 44,000 miles per hour. It is approximately 3,280 feet in diameter or about two and a half times the height of the Empire State Building. And once it has passed us, it won’t make another visit for another two hundred years.
According to EarthSky, an asteroid of this size hits the Earth about every 600,000 years.
1994 PC1 was first discovered on August 9, 1994, hence the name, by Robert McNaught at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. After McNaught discovered it, astronomers dug up earlier images of the same asteroid from as far back as 1974.
And while 1994 PC1 will be 1.2 million miles away, it will be visible from the earth on January 18 around 4:50 pm Eastern Standard Time. Anybody using a 6-inch or larger telescope will see it clearly, to quote Kamala Harris, “with your own eyes.”
Now, NASA has classified 1994 PC1 as “potentially hazardous.” However, that doesn’t mean that it will ever come close to striking the planet. A Potentially Hazardous Asteroid is defined by several characteristics including how close it is expected to come to the Earth and its size.
If an asteroid is further out than 4.6 million miles and is smaller than 500 feet in diameter, it is not considered potentially hazardous.
According to the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the California Institute of Technology, there are around 28,000 known near-Earth asteroids and about 1,000 of them are 3,280 feet in size or larger. Currently, none of these is expected to collide with the Earth any time soon.