According to a statement from NASA, April 19th will mark the date of a close encounter between 2014 JO25, a large asteroid, and our planet. Nonetheless, the aerospace agency also stated this would be a safe meeting as the space rock will not come into contact with Earth, although it will pass by significantly close.
NASA’s release states that, on April 19th, 2014 JO25 will pass at around 1.1 million miles from our planet. This is around 4.6 times the distance between the Earth and its Moon.
“[…] this upcoming approach is the closest by any known asteroid of this size, or larger, since asteroid Toutatis which approached within about four lunar distances in September 2004.”
This relatively large near-Earth object or NEO was first detected almost 3 years ago, in May 2014. It was discovered by astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey situated near Tucson, Arizona. Its detection is part of the NASA NEO Observations Program in collaboration with the University of Arizona.
The April 19h Encounter Between 2014 JO25 And Earth Will Offer A New Study Chance
NEOWISE mission observations also managed to gather some details on 2014 JO25. According to them, the NEO is about 2,000 feet in size. Its surface is said to be almost twice as reflective as that of the Moon. Presently, little else is known about the asteroid’s physical properties. Nonetheless, astronomers have managed to establish and have precise information on its trajectory.
This data established both its next approach to our planet and the little risks it poses. Also, astronomers determined that this is the NEO’s closest encounter with Earth in well over 400 years. It may also be the nearest one for the next 500 years as well.
As such, researchers will try to profit from this outstanding opportunity. They will observe 2014 JO25 as it passes by our planet and try to learn as much as possible from this encounter.
Image Source: Wikimedia