Large Asteroid Will Fly By Earth Tonight – Here's How To Watch It Live

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 as seen on 17 Jan. 2022. Image Credit: Gianluca Masi/Virtual Telescope Team

Stony asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 will safely fly by Earth tonight, January 18. The object is classified as potentially hazardous given its size of around 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) and the fact that it comes close to our planet, but there is no current known danger.

Tonight, at its closest point, the asteroid will be 1.98 million kilometers (1.23 million miles) from our planet – that’s over five times the distance between Earth and the Moon. The uncertainty on its close passage is less than 150 kilometers (93 miles). This it’s the closest that it will be to us for the next 172 years. Truly, we have nothing to worry about.

This flyby is an exciting opportunity for astronomers studying asteroids, as it is a good chance to try to learn a bit more about this object and its class. It also helps refine our orbital calculations of such objects too, so we know its future close passes more accurately. The next close passage under 5 million kilometers (3 million miles) will also be on January 18, but in 2105, and the one after that will be on January 20, 2194. Both of these flybys will be further away than tonight’s one.

Potentially Hazardous asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1. 17 Jan. 2022. Image Credit Gianluca Masi/Virtual Telescope

Despite its size and vicinity, the asteroid is not very bright and its expected highest magnitude is 10. So definitely not something you can see with your naked eye or binoculars – you need a good telescope.

If you don’t have one or the weather where you are is not right, the Virtual Telescope team is going to show it live later today at 19:30 ET (22:30 UTC) on their channels.

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