Mega asteroid as big as the Burj Khalifa to fly really close to the Earth today

The asteroid is classified as potentially hazardous but there is no chance of it colliding with our planet.


An asteroid, 162082 (1998 HL1), as big as the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai is going to fly close to the Earth on 25 October 2019, 10.51 pm IST.

Doomsday won't be following it hot on its tail, even though it has been classified as 'potentially hazardous' as it won't enter Earth's atmosphere this time around. The asteroid will be visible via a telescope from today and right through the end of this month.

It will be travelling at a speed of 11.21 km per second and at its closest point, 162082 (1998 HL1) will be 0.04155 au or 6.2 million kilometres from Earth.

Mega asteroid as big as the Burj Khalifa to fly really close to the Earth today

The asteroid 162082 (1998 HL1) during its previous flyby earth. Image credit: Virtual telescopes

1998 HL1 is estimated to measure between 440 and 990 meters in diameter.

The last time this asteroid came close to earth was in June this year and next time we will see it is on 15 October 2026, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The asteroid is a Near-Earth Object (NEO) and was discovered in 1998 by the Lincoln Laboratory Near-Earth Asteroid Research project (LINEAR) at Socorro, New Mexico. LINEAR is a collaboration between the US Air Force, NASA and MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory to detect and track NEOs.

A NEO is a comet, asteroid or is any small Solar System body whose orbit brings it in close proximity with Earth. If a NEO's orbit crosses the Earth's, and the object is larger than 140 meters across, it is considered a potentially hazardous object (PHO).

The orbit which the asteroid (162082) 1998 HL1 will be following. Image credit: JPL

The orbit which the asteroid (162082) 1998 HL1 will be following. Image credit: JPL

NEOs can occasionally have close encounters with Earth. A "close" passage in astronomical terms can be extremely far away in human terms: millions, even tens of millions of kilometres away. However, around 30 new near-asteroids are recorded and examined by NASA in its Near-Earth object database, maintained by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The software predicted close approaches to Earth for all known NEOs, in both the past and the future, and tabulates the close approach data organized by time. NASA characterizes these asteroids using optical and radio telescopes to find out their size, shape, rotation, composition and trajectory.

You can watch the asteroid hurtling through space online, here.

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