'Potentially Hazardous' Asteroid to Pass Earth This Week

But don't ready your End of the World Party plans just yet.




It's that time again! As your daily Googling of "asteroid please take me now" may have already informed you, there's currently much chatter surrounding a "potentially hazardous asteroid," namely in relation to the chances of our overrated little planet being gloriously fucked up in the process.

As a report from the catastrophe enthusiasts over at the International Business Times stated on Wednesday, NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) said the asteroid—163373 (2002 PZ39)—was recently traveling in the general direction of Earth at nearly 34,000 miles per hour.

The diameter of the rock is estimated at around 3,250 feet, with IBT noting it's "the biggest asteroid to approach Earth this month." Additionally, the near-Earth pass is projected to go down on Feb. 15, merely one day removed from Valentine's Day.

But don't plan any End-of-the-Fucking-World parties just yet. Stepping outside the pleasures of headline mania about asteroids and whatnot, keep in mind that—while an actual collision could of course set off some extinction-esque events—the asteroid is actually expected to pass from a distance of around 3.6 million miles.

As for the "potentially hazardous asteroid" distinction, the official CNEOS glossary defines such a thing as follows:

Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth. Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) of 0.05 au or less and an absolute magnitude (H) of 22.0 or less are considered PHAs.

Anyway, if you're truly hankering for some proper existential dread, why not just look at the world around you?

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