Giant Asteroid Zooms Relatively Close To Earth

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A giant asteroid measuring about 2,000 feet across is passing by the Earth at a safe distance on Wednesday, according to NASA.

The asteroid, known as “2014 JO25” is safely passing by our planet at a distance of about 1.1 million miles. By comparison, the moon is 238,000 miles away, 4.6 times closer.

After Wednesday’s flyby, stargazers may be able to see the asteroid with a small telescope for the next 1-2 nights.

While small asteroids pass by within that distance each week, NASA said this is the first time an asteroid so large has passed this close in more than a decade. In 2004 asteroid Toutatis, which is about 3 miles wide, whizzed by Earth from four lunar distances away.

In 2027, an even larger asteroid is expected to pass significantly close to Earth. Asteroid “1999 AN10,” which is half a mile wide, will pass by about 236,000 miles from Earth, NASA said.

The last time asteroid 2014 JO25 passed this close to Earth was at least 400 years ago. It is not expected to pass this close to Earth for at least the next 500 years.

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