A large asteroid over a mile across is expected to pass Earth at a much closer-than-normal distance near the end of May, close enough to be seen in the sky.
Asteroids pass by the Earth all the time, but Asteroid 7335 (1989 JA) is larger than most of them, measuring 1.1 miles (5,900 feet) across. It is four times the size of the Empire State Building.
On May 27, the asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth since its discovery, but it will pass safely by with no fear of impact. 7335 is one of 2,265 space rocks designated by NASA as a “potentially hazardous asteroid.” It will pass within 2.5 million miles of Earth, a little over ten times farther distant than the moon.
This flyby will provide scientists with greater studies of the asteroid and an opportunity for stargazers to see it in the sky. However, a telescope will be required to observe the massive rock because it will not be bright enough to see with the naked eye.
The effects of a mile-wide asteroid striking Earth would be heavily influenced by where it entered the planet’s atmosphere. However, it is unlikely to be as catastrophic as the asteroid that caused dinosaur extinction was estimated to be 6 miles across.
Given the fact that water covers most of the Earth, the chances of an asteroid exploding over the ocean are in favour. Although this is an ideal situation for life on Earth, it still has global implications. The heat from the catastrophe would force a massive quantity of ocean water to evaporate, causing massive weather shifts.
If a mile-wide asteroid erupted over land, a series of events would emerge, potentially inflicting a worldwide catastrophe with long-term consequences. If the incident occurred near a densely populated area, the effects would be amplified.
Fortunately, there is no immediate danger of such an asteroid colliding with Earth as NASA is always on the alert for new possibly harmful asteroids.