A 'Potentially Hazardous' Asteroid Is Approaching Earth

Zinger Key Points
  • On May 27, the asteroid will be approximately 2.5 million miles from the Earth.
  • A tiny asteroid measuring 10 feet wide burned up when entering the atmosphere in March.

A “potentially hazardous” XXL-sized asteroid traveling at approximately 30,000 miles per hour is expected to zoom by the Earth later this week — but unless it makes an unexpected left turn over Albuquerque, it is not expected to make contact with the planet.

What Happened: According to combined media reports, the asteroid named 1989 JA is 1.1 miles long, which makes it roughly 10 times the size of the Statue of Liberty or twice the size of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

Astronomers consider the asteroid to be "potentially hazardous" because it is an Apollo asteroid, a designation given to asteroids that cross the Earth's orbit.

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What Happens Next: On May 27, the asteroid will be approximately 2.5 million miles from the Earth. NASA scientists stated 1989 JA’s trajectory is the closest an asteroid will get to the Earth for the next 172 years.

On occasion, asteroids have been on a crash course with the Earth, most recently on March 11 when Hungarian astronomer Krisztián Sárneczky recorded a space rock about 10 feet wide roughly two hours before it collided with the planet’s atmosphere just north of Iceland. The asteroid, which was posthumously named 2022 EB5 by the Minor Planet Center, burned up when it entered the atmosphere, and no trace of its remains were found.

Photo: Rodion Zhuravlev / Pixabay

Posted In: 1989 JAAsteroidNASANewsSPACEGeneral