NASA’s Pictures of Huge Asteroid Passing Earth
NASA has released the following images of a large asteroid as it readies to pass by alarmingly close to Earth on 19 April.
The administration has been monitoring the space rock, known as 2014 JO25, since it was discovered in May 2014 by astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona.
The roughly 2,000-ft asteroid is currently under observation by NASA’s NEO Observations Program in collaboration with the University of Arizona, which monitors near-Earth objects to ensure that none present an immediate threat to the planet.
In the early hours on 18 April, NASA used its antenna at the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California to get a sneak peak of the speeding space rock.
The subsequent visuals are pretty impressive.
Shantanu Naidu, a NASA scientist who led the Goldstone observations, described the asteroid as, “a contact binary structure,” meaning it has two main portions that are connected by a neck-like region.
Additional radar observations will be conducted on April 19, 20 and 21, which will hopefully provide even higher resolution photos than the ones taken on the 18th.
According to NASA, 2014 JO25 is expected to pass us by at a distance of 1.1-M miles, which is roughly about 4.6X the space between our Planet and the Moon.
Although the agency is confident there is no possibility the asteroid will collide with our planet, it says this will still be a very close approach for an asteroid of this size.
2014 JO25’s size combined with its reflective surface will likely make it visible to stargazers who possess small optical telescopes.
The best times to catch a glimpse of the rock would be the 2 nights following its 19 April arrival.