Watch a ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid safely fly by Earth at 47,200 mph today

So close yet so far.
Chris Young

A massive asteroid measuring more than a mile in diameter will fly by Earth today. It will safely fly past Earth, but it will be just close enough that you can watch it live today on an online webcast, a report reveals.

The asteroid, called 7335 (1989 JA), will come to a proximity 10 times that of the distance between the Earth and the Moon, roughly 2.5 million miles (4 million km) from our planet. It is the largest flyby of 2022 so far, and is roughly four times the size of the Empire State Building.

A 'potentially hazardous' asteroid will fly safely past Earth

The Virtual Telescope Project announced it will stream a webcast (viewable in the embedded video below) of the flyby at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) today, May 27. In the video description for the webcast, the Virtual Telescope Project says the asteroid will be "quite bright", making it "visible through small instruments, mainly from the Southern hemisphere."

Asteroid 7335 (1989 JA) is categorized as "potentially hazardous", though that designation is based on its size and the distance at which it approaches Earth, among a number of other factors. NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office says the object will pose no threat and it will fly safely by today as it travels past Earth at a speed of 47,200 mph (~76,000 kph).

Monitoring the skies for potentially hazardous space rocks

Though we are unlikely to see a massive asteroid impact hit Earth in our lifetimes, former NASA chief Jim Bridenstine recently warned that the world needs to take planetary defense more seriously.

According to the latest data, the probability of an asteroid large enough to destroy a city hitting Earth is 0.1 percent every year. If such an asteroid did hit Earth, it is unlikely to actually land in a populated area and there is a 70 percent chance it would land in the ocean. 

Still, the scientific community continues to track asteroids to keep track and monitor in the unlikely event that a massive asteroid might be headed our way. NASA has launched its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) to test whether it is capable of deflecting an asteroid and changing its trajectory. The Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) also recently unveiled new plans for its own planetary defense system. NASA has recently warned that its close partner SpaceX may impede its ability to detect a hazardous space rock in the future with the launch of its internet satellite mega constellation, Starlink.

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