A mile-wide asteroid passed by Earth on Friday (May 27) at a distance about 10 times that of the space between the Earth and moon.
The asteroid, known as asteroid 7335 (1989 JA), is roughly four times the size of the Empire State Building and is the largest yet to pass by our planet in 2022. Viewers were able to catch the event live online through the Virtual Telescope Project (you can watch the feed embedded below), thanks to a new collaboration that includes telescopes in Chile, Australia and Rome.
"These two live feeds covering 1989 JA were possible thanks to the brand new
cooperation between the Virtual Telescope Project and Telescope Live," founder Gianluca Masi told Space.com. "They have several telescopes around the planet, under amazing skies."
At its closest, the asteroid was 2.5 million miles (4 million kilometers) away and it posed no threat whatsoever to our planet, despite its large size of 1.1 miles (1.8 km) across. It was bright enough to see in moderate-sized telescopes.
Improving tracking of these relatively small space rocks means we are getting better at catching any potential impacts before they happen, which is why it seems like there are so many space rocks going by us these days.
While asteroid 7335 (1989 JA) is technically classified as "potentially hazardous," that wasn't meaning to indicate an imminent threat to our planet. The designation refers to asteroids that are larger than 492 feet (150 meters), and the distance at which the asteroid approaches Earth, among other factors.
Space agencies and telescopes around the world keep an eye on space rocks. This includes NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office. You can keep track of other prominent upcoming flybys, the curated list of asteroids that have a statistically improbable chance of impact, and the agency's Small-Body Database to learn more about asteroids in general.
NASA has found no immediate threats to worry about in the next 100 years, although the agency keeps its eye on the sky just in case.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace