Kilometre-wide potentially hazardous asteroid will shoot past Earth this month

A giant asteroid being monitored by NASA is going to shoot past Earth later this month.

The kilometer-wide space rock, called "1994 PC1", is making its closest approach on January 18 and will fly by at 1,940,000 kilometres away which is roughly five times the distance of the moon to our planet.

Data from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows the asteroid will be traveling at 19.56km/s which is an eye-watering 44,000 mph.

Robert McNaught discovered asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia in August 1994 and since then it has been tracked and scientists have figured out its orbit.

The space rock is classified as a stony asteroid and is one of the Apollo group that orbit around the Sun and sometimes cross orbits with Earth.

It has a diameter of 370 metres and initial observations in 2004 indicated a probability up to 2.7% that it would hit Earth on April 13 in 2029 but scientists now think the odds are close to zero.

The asteroid is predicted to graze past at a tight distance of 31,000km in 2029 which is closer than most geostationary satellites but not near enough to harm us.

This comes after an asteroid nearly three times the size of Big Ben brushed past Earth just after Christmas Day.

Asteroid 2017 AE3 is calculated to be 353 metres wide, which makes it almost three times as huge as Big Ben, and luckily it sailed past our planet without causing any issues.

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