Football Field-Sized Asteroid Will Approach Earth’s Orbit On Monday Night
Back in 1994, astronomer Carolyn Shoemaker spotted an asteroid that would one day be headed towards Earth. At the time, the asteroid, which was named 1994 WR12, was added to a list of asteroids that could one day possibly get close enough to Earth to do damage. Thankfully, it was removed from that list in 2016.
The day the asteroid is on course for Earth is almost here, but thankfully scientists now know that the asteroid will be 3.8 million miles away from our planet. That’s far enough away that we have nothing to worry about, but it’s close enough that California residents might be able to see it.
If you live in California and have access to a telescope, you’ll want to look at the sky on Monday December 6th, 2021, between 4:30pm and 5pm Pacific Time.
While it might be fun to try to spot an asteroid in the sky, it’s definitely a good thing that this particular asteroid is not going to make impact with Earth. This is not a small space rock. At 390 feet long, 1994 WR12 is 30 feet longer than a football field. If it made impact with Earth, it would do more damage than the most powerful nuclear bomb.
This won’t be the last time an asteroid passes near Earth, and it won’t be the last time 1994 WR12 passes near Earth either. It will once again pass by Earth in the year 2046. While 1994 WR 12 won’t be close enough to worry about in 2046 either, it will be closer than on Monday. In 2046 it will be approximately 1.01 million miles away.
Another asteroid is going to come close to Earth this Friday. This asteroid is much smaller than 1994 WR12, but it is also going to be much closer. Asteroid WK1 2001, which is about 64 feet long, will zoom by Earth at a distance of 652,000 miles.
Other asteroids even larger than 1994 WR12 are expected to pass by Earth in the near future as well. The biggest one is known as 1994 PC1. At 3,600 feet long, it is much bigger than even the tallest building on Earth. Thankfully, it will be 1.2 million miles away when it passes by Earth on January 18, 2022.
Are you going to look for 1994 WR12 on Monday? Do you think one day a large asteroid will make impact with Earth?