On Friday, one of the largest asteroids to make a close approach to the Earth this year will fly past our planet—and you can watch the space rock’s close approach live online as it zooms by.
While the size of the asteroid—known as 7335 (1989 JA)—is listed by NASA’s Center for Near Earth Studies (CNEOS) database as having a diameter of 1.8 kilometers (5,900 feet). This figure originates from a 1994 study—measuring the size of distant objects in space is difficult and more recent estimates, such as observations conducted by NASA’s NEOWISE spacecraft, indicate that is likely closer to around 1 kilometer (3,280 feet) across.
While this is a relatively close approach in astronomical terms, in practice, this is a “very safe” distance, according to Gianluca Masi, an astronomer from the Virtual Telescope Project (VTP.) In fact, the asteroid will pass our planet at around around 10 times the average distance between the moon and the Earth.
Nevertheless, this is “by far” the closest predicted approach of this particular asteroid for the next 200 years, Greg Brown, an astronomer at Royal Observatory Greenwich in the United Kingdom, told Newsweek.