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How to Watch One of 2022’s Biggest Asteroids Zoom Past Earth


What’s happening

An asteroid more than a mile across is going to pass through Earth’s neighborhood on Friday.

Why it matters

This is the biggest asteroid to swing by Earth this year. Fortunately, massive as it is, it doesn’t pose a threat.

A massive asteroid is heading our way, and it’ll make its closest pass by our planet in centuries on May 27. 

Called 1989 JA (or sometimes just asteroid 7335), it’s 1.2 miles (1.8 kilometers) in diameter, which helps earn it the classification of a “potentially hazardous” object according to astronomers, even though it poses no real risk to our planet. At that size, it’s about twice the size of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa or the same size as Plum Island in New York.

When the distance between this space rock and us is shortest, at 7:26 a.m. PT Friday morning, it will still be 10 times farther away than the moon. 

So there’s clearly no reason for any asteroid anxiety with 1989 JA, but still it’s expected to be the largest asteroid to make a close pass by Earth during 2022, according to NASA’s database of near-earth objects. Because it’s so big, astronomers have already been able to observe it:

The object isn’t quite big enough or close enough to see with the naked eye, but it might be possible to see with a powerful telescope and the help of an app like Stellarium.

As its label indicates, the asteroid was discovered in 1989, and it’s not expected to fly this close to us again between now and the end of the 22nd century. 

If you don’t have the equipment or ability to check this monster out for yourself, the Virtual Telescope Project based in Italy will be streaming an online watch party that you can attend via the feed above. 

Or if you’re more interested in much smaller space rocks that might actually be possible to see with the naked eye, don’t forget to add Monday’s potential meteor storm to your agenda. 





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