Next Sunday, a very impressive space rock will swing by to pay a visit to Earth. Marked as the Asteroid 2019 JB1, the impressive space rock is large enough to overshadow both the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Statue of Liberty.
JB1 from 2019, first discovered at the beginning of the month, was classified as a near-Earth object (NEO). These objects are celestial bodies, such as asteroids or comets, "which have been orbited into orbit by the gravitational pull of nearby planets, enabling them to enter the Earth's environment," explains the NASA Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). 1
According to estimates by CNEOS, the asteroid has a diameter between 558 feet and 1,280 feet. At the upper end of NASA's size estimate, space rock would be almost three times the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza and a little over four times the Statue of Liberty.
Even at the lower end of this size estimate, 2018 JB1 asteroid would still be considered pretty fierce. With a width of 50 meters, the space rock would still be larger than these two landmarks.
Although the impressive size of the asteroid can certainly be worrying, there is no reason to worry. The close encounter with Earth will be absolutely safe as it will be only a few million miles from the surface of the planet, as the JPL announced today.
It is expected that the departing asteroid will fly past Planet Earth late on May 19th. The 2019 JB1 asteroid races through space at incredible speeds of over 90,000 km / h, approaching Earth at 23:21 ET.
During its approaching flyby, the space rock will swarm the earth from a distance of 4 million miles. This means that at the moment of its closest approach, the asteroid will zoom past the surface of our planet a little less than 17 times the distance to the Moon. Miles are a stone's throw away in cosmic terms.
"Note that a 'narrow' passage can be astronomically very far from human beings: millions or even tens of millions of miles," emphasizes CNEOS.