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Massive asteroid, twice the size of Empire State Building, to pass by Earth in January

According to NASA, Asteroid 7482 is flying by at a speed of 69,200 kilometers per hour
(Andrzej Wojcicki/Getty Images)
(Andrzej Wojcicki/Getty Images)

An asteroid, nearly twice the size of the Empire State Building, will fly by the Earth on January 18, 2022, adding to the list of cosmic occurrences that are expected to occur in the year. According to NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the space rock - Asteroid 7482 - is flying by at a speed of 69,200 kilometers per hour. Despite being classed as a potentially dangerous asteroid, NASA estimates that it will pass safely by our planet at a distance of nearly 1.9 million kilometers or five times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

Asteroid 7482, commonly known as 1994 PC1, has a gigantic diameter of 3,280 feet but because of its great distance, it can only be seen via a telescope. This space rock circles the Sun every 1.5 years and will not pass close to Earth until 2051. Furthermore, the asteroid's closest approach to Earth occurred in 1933, when it was only 1.1 million kilometers away from our planet.


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The asteroid passed close to Earth for the last time in April 2017, and it won't be coming back to our cosmic region until July 2034. In terms of its discovery, astronomer Robert McNaught was the first to see the asteroid in 1994 while utilizing the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia, and scientists were able to determine its orbit after years of study.


Apart from asteroid 1994 PC1, asteroid 2021 YK will pass Earth on January 2 at a distance of 1,18,000 kilometers. This asteroid, which is only 12 meters across, will be one of the three asteroids that will pass Earth in January. 2013 YD48, a 104-meter-wide asteroid roughly the same size as Big Ben, is also on the list of incoming asteroids. It will make its closest approach from a distance of 5.6 million kilometers from our planet, making it a potentially dangerous asteroid. Furthermore, 2014 YE15, which is just 7 meters broad, and 2020 AP1, which is four meters wide, will skim by the Earth from distances of roughly 8 million kilometers and 1.7 million kilometers, respectively.