On April 19, a relatively large near-Earth asteroid will fly past safely. Scientists have made it clear that there is no possibility for it to collide with our planet.
The asteroid, 2014 JO25, discovered in May 2014, will fly past at a distance on 1.8 million kilometers. This is approximately 4.6 times the distance between Earth and the moon. Anyhow, this will be a very close approach for an asteroid of this size.
Astronomers discovered this at the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona. The space agency reported that, this asteroid is roughly 650 meters in size. Also, its surface is about twice as reflective as that of our moon. Although the trajectory of the asteroid is well known, scientists are yet to discover its physical properties.
During the night of April 19, it will be visible as it is approaching Earth from the direction of the sun. One can see it for the next consecutive days with the help of small optical telescopes.
Even though small asteroids pass within this distance of Earth several times a week, this upcoming close approach is the closest by any known asteroid of this size. The last known closest approach is that of asteroid Toutatis. It was about 3.1-mile asteroid, which approached within about four lunar distances in September 2004.
The April 19 encounter will provide an opportunity to study this asteroid. The encounter is the closest for this asteroid for at least the last 400 years. And interestingly, it will be its closest approach for at least the next 500 years.
In addition to this, on April 19, the comet PanSTARRS will make its closest approach to Earth, at a very safe distance of 175 million kilometers.