The universe keeps repeatedly reminding us that we’re just a random dot away from global disaster. The next such reminder will happen on April 19th when asteroid 2014 JO25 will fly by our planet at a relatively safe distance of roughly 1.1 million miles (1.8 million kilometers). That distance, while being relatively comfortable, is still very close, especially when you get to know how large the astriod is.
For a few nights following April 19th, amateur astronomers may be able to get a look at 2014 JO25 thanks to it gaining brightness, though it will still be somewhat difficult to spot. The 2014 JO25 asteroid is not expected to come this close to our planet again for another 500+ years.
Youtube / This computer-generated animation depicts the flyby of asteroid 2014 JO25. The asteroid will safely fly past Earth on April 19, 2017, at a distance of about 1.1 million miles (1.8 million kilometers), or about 4.6 times the distance between Earth and the moon. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
April 19th will also mark the appearance of a comet for some star gazers who happen to live in the right place. Comet PanSTARSS C/2015 ER61 will be at its nearest point to Earth that day, though it will still be a very distant 109 million miles away. Having gained a lot of brightness since its discovery in 2015, the comet can now be seen with binoculars at specific times of the day.
About Asteroid 2014 JO25
2014 JO25 is a near-earth asteroid. It was discovered in May 2014 by the Catalina Sky Survey as part of NASA’s NEO Observations Program. The asteroid measures some 650 meters in size with an optical albedo of 0.25 as measured by NASA’s NEOWISE mission.
It’s projected to reach an apparent magnitude of 11 or 10, which should put it in the observable range of 8 inch telescopes.
Source: NASA / BGR News