Huge Asteroid To Closely Pass By Earth TODAY
You have seen those disaster movies before where an asteroid is heading straight for Earth, right? Well this is about as close to that happening as we care to get!
A 2,000-foot-long asteroid will safely pass by Earth today at a distance of about 1.1 million miles, about 4.6 times the distance from Earth to the moon. Now, I know that sounds like it is pretty far away, but in "space terms" it's pretty darn close!
The asteroid is so massive that astronomy website Slooh.com nicknamed it The Rock...after Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (which I thoroughly enjoyed). To put into perspective how huge this space "Rock" is, it is almost twice the size of the Rose Bowl...so basically two giant football stadiums. That's enough to cause some significant damage to Earth if it were to collide. Don't worry though, according to NASA, there's no possibility that The Rock (otherwise known as JO25) will collide with our planet.
Now, I am a huge space nerd. I find these things fascinating after taking two years of Astronomy classes. So this is interesting to me because it's the closest this asteroid has come to Earth for at least the past 400 years and will be the closest it will come to Earth for at least the next 500 years.
NASA said the approach is the closest by any known asteroid of this size since the 3.1-mile-wide asteroid Toutatis approached within about four lunar distances in September 2004. We will have to wait until 2027 to have another shot at seeing a big rock roll so close to Earth, Sky and Telescope said.
If you have a telescope and are as fascinated by this as I am, it should be visible later tonight, according to EarthSky.org. Thankfully, we don't have to worry about sending Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck into space to save the world, but it's good to know that Hollywood has prepared us in the event that something like that were to happen!