An Asteroid Flew By Earth!

An Asteroid Flew By Earth!

Brianna Hayes

On January 18, an asteroid passed within 1.2 million miles of Earth, traveling at over 47,344 per hour.  Asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) is classified as a near-Earth object, but it’s not expected to impact our planet.  In fact, according to NASA, no known asteroids are expected to impact our planet in the next 100 years.

This asteroid was discovered by Robert H. McNaught, an astronomer at the Siding Spring Observatory in Coonabarabran Australia, in 1994.  Asteroids are small rocky objects that orbit the sun and are leftover from the formation of our solar system. Similar to snowflakes, all asteroids are different.  This one is approximately 1.1 Kilometers in diameter or about three times the size of the Empire State Building.   

Astronomers believe that this is the closest that 7482 (1994 PC1) will be to Earth for the next 200 years.  This asteroid orbits the sun every 572 days and will approach Earth again on July 3, of this year, passing within 41.2 million miles. 

Amature astronomers could have caught a glimpse of this extraordinary sight on January 18, 2022, at 4:51 pm EST.  This asteroid was visible to those with access to a good telescope.  

The likelihood of an asteroid hitting Earth is slim but possible. For the past several months the news has reported several massive asteroids that could have the possibility of closely approaching Earth. Asteroids have been a common theme in movies throughout the years. While Hollywood exaggerates the events of asteroids, the actual odds of an asteroid hitting Earth is not likely.