Breaking News
More () »

'Potentially hazardous' asteroid set to zoom by Earth today

People with a backyard telescope may be able to catch a glimpse.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — ...don't look up?

While headlines of an asteroid speeding toward Earth may sound alarm bells, especially for those who watched the recent hit Netflix movie, earthlings can sort of breathe a sigh of relief with this one.

NASA projects an asteroid, which has an official name of 7482 (1994 PC1), will safely fly by Earth on Tuesday, Jan. 18. According to the agency's database, the space rock is just over 1 kilometer in diameter — about 3,451 feet total — and cruising at 43,754 mph.

For reference, it's taller than the 2,716.5-foot Burj Khalifa building in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. And if your travels take you across Tampa Bay's Sunshine Skyway Bridge, here's some context: the asteroid is way smaller than the bridge's 21,859-foot length.

Regardless, NASA considers the hunk of rock a "potentially hazardous object" given its size and its close approach to Earth. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's data on the asteroid shows it'll be a little more than 1,230,000 miles away but in terms of space, that's a close call.

An asteroid greater than 500 feet wide could be "devasting" if it slammed into Earth, Nancy Chabot, a chief planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory said in an earlier interview with CBS News.

"We're actually not talking, like, global extinction event, but regional devastation on the area that could wipe out a city or even a small state," she said. "And so it is a real concern. It is a real threat."

EarthSky.org says amateur astronomers might be able to catch a glimpse of asteroid 7482 as it flies by, so maybe do look up?

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out