Asteroid of ‘Potentially Hazardous' Size Makes Safe Flyby Past Earth

The 1994 PC1 (7482) is roughly the length of 10 football fields, traveling at over 43,000 miles per hour

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A massive and "potentially hazardous" asteroid whizzed safely by Earth on Tuesday, traveling at over 43,000 miles per hour.

The kilometer-wide asteroid, named 1994 PC1 (7482), is roughly the length of 10 football fields. And while classified as dangerous due to its sheer size and relatively close flyby, NASA had "rest assured" 1994 PC1 it would safely pass Earth 1.2 million miles away.

The moon, for reference, is an average 238,855 miles away from our planet.

However, it was close enough for sky gazers with amateur telescopes to easily catch a glimpse of 1994 PC1. has published a series of "finder maps" for the asteroid, charting its course on Jan. 18 and mapping out nearby markers to help locate 1994 PC1.

The asteroid made its closest approach to Earth on Jan. 18 at 4:51 p.m. EST, according to NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. 1994 PC1 is not predicted to come this close to Earth again until January 2105.

First discovered on Aug. 9, 1994, by astronomer Robert McNaught at the Siding Spring Observatory in Coonabarabran, Australia, the asteroid made its closest approach to Earth on Jan. 17, 1933, according to NASA, coming within 699,300 miles of our planet.

So, what are the chances that Earth will be hit by an asteroid in the near future?

NASA says our planet is bombarded with 15,000 tons of space particles and small asteroids every year, but the vast majority of these impactors are small and just burn in the atmosphere.

The last significant event in over 100 years occurred over Russia in 2013, when Earth was hit by an asteroid that was the size of a small building. But, that one disintegrated about 20 kilometers above the city of Chelyabinsk, creating an impressive fireball that was shared widely on social media.

An asteroid large enough to threaten Earth's civilization comes along only once every few million years, according to NASA. Impact craters on Earth, the moon and other planets' bodies are evidence of these occurrences.

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