The biggest asteroid of the year is set to pass by Earth on Sunday (March 21) but rest assured, this is not another pre-apocalyptic event to cross off on your 2021 bingo board.
According to Live Science, scientists say that the large asteroid will be whizzing by the planet at a very safe distance with no chance of impact on our surface. Named the “2001FO32,” the huge space rock is about 2,230 feet wide, but it will not get any closer than 1.25 million miles away from our planet.
“There is no chance the asteroid will get any closer to Earth than 1.25 million miles,” Paul Chodas, the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies, said in a NASA statement. The asteroid was initially discovered in 2001 and was thought to be much larger than its actual size.
The asteroid will be traveling at approximately 77,000 miles per hour when it passes Earth, and scientists hope to ping frequencies off it to better understand its surface and makeup. When the asteroid passes earth on Sunday at 12:03 p.m. EST, it will also be visible to people who aren’t space experts.
The asteroid will be brightest while it moves through southern skies,” Chodas said. “Amateur astronomers in the Southern Hemisphere and at low northern latitudes should be able to see this asteroid using moderate size telescopes with apertures of at least 8 inches in the nights leading up to closest approach, but they will probably need star charts to find it.”
Be sure to check it out because the next time an asteroid of this size will pass by will be in 2052.