NASA’s Asteroid Watch tweeted that a near-Earth asteroid named 7482 (1994 PC1) will safely fly past our planet today at a distance of 1.2 million miles or 1.9 million kilometres. This is about five times the distance between the Earth and Moon. The asteroid will make another close approach this year on July 3. 7482 (1994 PC1) has a diameter of about 1km and is classified as an Apollo asteroid.
— NASA Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) January 12, 2022
On January 18, three other asteroids will make their closest approach to Earth. Check out the details below.
Why are these asteroids called Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHA)?
Near-Earth objects that come at a distance of below 0.05 astronomical units or 7.5 million km from Earth are termed as potentially hazardous asteroids. There are over 1,500 PHAs according to the International Astronomical Union.
How to watch the asteroid?
According to earthsky.org the 7482 (1994 PC1) will shine at around magnitude 10. This magnitude is less than the shine of Venus and other stars seen by our naked eyes in the sky. The website adds that a 6-inch or larger backyard telescope can help spot the asteroid, but you also need to make sure there is no light pollution.
Last year NASA launched the world’s first mission to deflect an asteroid. Named DART, it will collide with a small moonlet called Dimorphos between September 26 and October 1. It hopes that the small nudge can change the course of the moonlet.
This month’s near-Earth objects
According to NASA, no known asteroid poses a risk of impact with Earth over the next 100 years. “The highest risk of impact for a known asteroid is a 1 in 714 chance of impact by an asteroid designated 2009 FD in 2185,” NASA’s planetary defense website adds.