A huge 2000-foot-long asteroid is coming towards Earth with great speed and is expected to fly past the planet on April 19, the American space agency NASA has said.

Asteroid 2014 JO25

This massive asteroid, dubbed 2014 JO25, was discovered three years back in 2014. NASA says the asteroid will safely cruise by Earth at a distance of about 1.1 million miles or nearly 4.6 times the distance between Earth and the moon. The space agency also says this will be the ‘closest approach’ for an asteroid of such a big size since 2004, although the massive rock is not expected to collide with our planet.

Earlier this week, asteroid 2017 GM, about the size of a car, flew past Earth at a distance of just 10,000 miles.

What are asteroids?

Scientists describe asteroids as minor planets orbiting the sun. The large asteroids are often called planetoids. Asteroids are different from meteoroids and comets. While asteroids are primarily made up of rock and minerals, comets are composed of ice and dust. A major difference between asteroids and meteoroids is that asteroids have diameters greater than one meter, whereas meteoroids are less than one meter in diameter. Most asteroids in our solar system orbit in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars or are co-orbital with Jupiter. Many asteroids are near-Earth objects and come close to Earth from time to time.

Distance between Earth and 2014 JO25 on April 19

According to NASA, the distance between Earth and 2014 JO25 on April 19 will be shortest in the past 400 years, and its next closest approach will occur only after 500 years. Asteroid 2014 JO25 will come from the direction of the sun. Amateur astronomers can catch a glimpse of it, using their telescopes, in the night sky after April 19.

However, the brightness of the asteroid will fade quickly after one or two nights.

NASA also revealed that the next close encounter between Earth and an asteroid of comparable size will happen in 2027 when 800-meter-wide 1999 AN10 asteroid will fly by Earth at one lunar distance.

In September 2004, a 3.1-mile-long asteroid, named Toutatis approached Earth, and at that time, the distance between Earth and the asteroid was nearly 4 times the lunar distance.

Interestingly, on April 19th, comet PanSTARSS (C/2015 ER61) will also be at its closest point to Earth (about 109 million miles). This comet was discovered in 2015, and since then it has attained much brightness to be seen with binoculars from the right place at specific times of the day.