Fire up the Aerosmith soundtrack, folks, because a large asteroid is getting ready to make a close flyby of Earth later this month.
As its name suggests, Asteroid 2014 JO25 was first discovered back in 2014, and it soon became clear that the object’s path would bring it to our neighborhood in just a few years. After gathering more data, the asteroid was deemed ‘Potentially Hazardous’ by the Minor Planet Center. Such categorizations are made based on an object’s size and projected closest approach to Earth. To be labeled ‘Potentially Hazardous’ an asteroid must be big enough to cause significant damage were it to strike Earth while also being on an orbit that brings it close enough to our planet for such an event to happen.
At approximately 1.4km in diameter, Asteroid 2014 JO25 is certainly big enough to cause major damage, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to activate Bruce Willis and his team of oil drilling world savers just yet. On April 19th, the asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth, coming as close to us as 1.7 million kilometers. While that’s a distance safe enough to ensure we shouldn’t lose any sleep, it’s certainly a close call in celestial terms.
The gif below, seen in a tweet from JPL’s Ron Baalke, shows just how close 2014 JO25 will be in two weeks time.
A ~1-km asteroid, 2014 JO25, will make a close flyby of Earth on Apr 19, 2017 (4.8 Lunar Distance)@BadAstronomer pic.twitter.com/ixfbyOmQda
— Ron Baalke (@RonBaalke) May 22, 2016
The last time an asteroid of this size came this close to Earth was back in 2004, and it won’t be happening again until August 2027.