Asteroid 2004 BL86 set to narrowly miss us, to be visible from Earth

By Ritu Singh | Last Updated: Jan 26, 2015, 10:42 AM IST
Asteroid  2004 BL86 set to narrowly miss us, to be visible from Earth
NASA

A mountain sized asteroid (about the size of five football fields) will fly by Earth on Monday, but there is no need to worry, assures NASA.

The asteroid is called 2004 BL86. It’ll come about 745,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from Earth, or about three times as far away as the moon at 11:19 a.m. ET.

It will be the closest known asteroid this large to pass near Earth until 2027, that’s when an asteroid called 1999 AN10 flies by us.

“While it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it’s a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more,” said Don Yeomans, the recently retired manager of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

An interesting aspect about this fly by is that people might be able to see it with strong binoculars or backyard telescopes. It will be possible on January 26 between 11:07 pm and 11:52 pm ET (04:07 and 04:52 GMT) and will be best seen in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. Don't miss this rare opportunity.