Washington, April 8: Having no chance of impact, an asteroid more than a quarter mile (400 meters) wide passed by Earth on Wednesday, zooming by at a distance of just over a million miles (1.8 million km). The asteroid, estimated to be between one-quarter and three-quarters of a mile (600-1,400 meters) wide and twice as reflective as the Moon.The asteroid was discovered in May 2014 by astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona.
The asteroid will approach Earth from the direction of the sun and is visible in the night sky from April 19. It is predicted to brighten to about magnitude 11 when it could be visible in small optical telescopes for one or two nights before it fades as the distance from Earth rapidly increases.
According to NASA scientists, the asteroid wasn’t visible to naked eyes but there is a possibility that sky watchers may able to view it with home telescopes for one or two nights from Wednesday.
Usually smaller asteroids make closer passes to Earth but 2014 J025 discovered in May 2014 will be the largest asteroid to come this near to the planet since 2004 which is flying at only 4.6 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon, 1.1 million miles (1.8 million km).
Having the years of data on the asteroid’s trajectory helps scientists to predict that the approach of J025 will be the asteroid's closest for at least the next 500 years.
In 2004, the 3.1-mile (5-km) wide asteroid Toutatis passed about four lunar distances or just under a million miles (1.6 million km) from Earth.
Small asteroids pass within this distance of Earth several times each week, but this upcoming close approach is the closest by any known asteroid of this size or larger, since asteroid Toutatis, 5 km asteroid. The next known encounter of an asteroid of comparable size will occur in 2027 when the 800-meter-wide asteroid 1999 AN10 will fly by about 380,000 kilometers.