Asteroid 1998 OR2, a giant space rock around 1.1 to 2.5 miles wide and known as a "potentially hazardous" asteroid safely flew by Earth earlier today.
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It is bright enough to be seen by amateur astronomy equipment, but for those who don't have one or didn't have the chance to catch it, a live stream is available for those who want to see it happen.
How to Watch Asteroid 1998 OR2 Flyby
According to a report by Newsweek, the Virtual Telescope Project (VTP) operated by Gianluca Masi, an astronomer, provided the live stream of the asteroid 1998 OR2 flyby that happened this Wednesday, Apr. 29, at 2:55 am PDT/ 5:55 am EDT.
The live stream is available on YouTube, posted below:
According to NASA, the asteroid was 3.9 million miles or 6.3 million kilometers away from the surface of the Earth at its closest.
Although it's known as a "close approach," it's really far away from us. But thinking of how vast space is, the distance is still pretty close in astronomical terms, despite it being 16 times farther away than our closest neighbor, the moon.
The asteroid was first discovered in 1998, thus the name, by the Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking by the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was able to track it for the past two decades, making the experts familiar with its trajectory and knowing it will safely pass by us for at least 200 years.
Potentially Hazardous to Earth
Deemed as potentially hazardous, it could have a small chance of hitting our planet over the course of millennia with very small changes to its orbit changing its trajectory and posing more threat to us than its current position.
Technically, any asteroid that is close enough at 4.6 million miles from the Earth's surface and large enough at 460 feet in diameter is seen as potentially hazardous.
In the event of an impact, these giant asteroids could cause regional damage.
But as of now, it safely passed by us, giving astronomers a chance to study it closely.
Additionally, flybys by large asteroids like 1998 OR2 are incredibly rare, with the last one happening last September 2017 by asteroid Florence.
When Will Asteroid 1998 OR2 Return?
NASA predicts that, on average, asteroids that are miles wide will fly relatively close to Earth around five years or so.
As for asteroid 1998 OR2 that just swung by us, its next visit will be in 2079, where it will be a lot closer to the Earth's surface at four times the distance of the moon, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Asteroid 1998 OR2 is the largest asteroid that will fly past us in the next year, at least, so we'll be safe from any cosmic accidents for at least a few hundred years.
Although it has passed us, astronomy enthusiasts could still catch the action through the live streaming event of the flyby, which was posted above.
Additionally, the public could track down asteroids that will be passing by close to our neighborhood through NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).