NASA: Large asteroid nicknamed "The Rock" to make it closest pass to Earth in 400 years today

Story By: Rajesh Sharma
Wednesday, April, 19 2017 - 16:22

A large asteroid nicknamed "The Rock” will make it closest pass to Earth in 400 years today.

The asteroid, officially called 2014 JO25, is travelling through space at about 33 meters per second (73 mph). Though its exact seisze is not know, it is estimated to be between 650 meters and 1.4 kilometres in length.

The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at 13:24 BST on April 19, at a distance of 1.8 million km - or about 4.6 times the distance from Earth to the moon, but with no chance of impact, according to NASA scientists.

The asteroid will not come this close to Earth again for at least the next 500 years.

The next asteroid to pass this close with comparable size won’t be until 2027.

The asteroid won't be visible to the naked eye, but sky watchers should be able to view it with home telescopes for one or two nights starting on Wednesday.

Asteroids are minor planets, called from the Greek word for "star-like".

The first asteroid to be discovered, “Ceres”, was found in 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi, and was originally considered to be a new planet.

Asteroids vary greatly in size, from almost 1000 km for the largest down to rocks just 1 meter across.

The physical composition of asteroids is varied and in most cases poorly understood. Ceres appears to be composed of a rocky core covered by an icy mantle, while another asteroid” Vest”a is thought to have a nickel-iron core, olivine mantle, and basaltic crust.


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