A gigantic asteroid nicknamed ‘The Beast’ is expected to fly by Earth on Sunday, June 8. The asteroid 2014 HQ124 is roughly the size of a football stadium, reports Space.com. It has no chance of hitting Earth. The Beast will pass by Earth at about 3.2 lunar distances. Lunar distance is the distance between Earth and moon, which measures 238,855 miles.
Asteroid The Beast travelling at 14km per second
It’s disconcerting that such as giant asteroid was discovered less than two months before its nearest approach to out planet. It was discovered by NASA’s sky-mapping space telescope Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer on April 23. The mammoth asteroid is about 352 meters wide. Though it’s nothing new to hear about asteroids flying past our planet, it’s quite disturbing to see such a large asteroid go unnoticed for so long.
The Beast will make its closest approach to Earth on Sunday at 1:56 AM EDT. It is traveling at the speed of 31,000mph or 14km per second, about 17 times faster than a high-speed rifle shot. Slooh community observatory astronomer Bob Berman hosted a special event on Thursday to preview the close approach of The Beast, which is formally called 2014 HQ124.
An asteroid the size of 1km could destroy earth
Berman said that The Beast is possibly 20 times bigger than the one that injured more than a thousand people in Chelyabinsk, Siberia last year. The one that exploded over Chelyabinsk measured only 17-20 meter in diameter. According to Wired magazine, it would take an asteroid of 100 feet width to prove destructive to Earth. Th Beast, with 352 meter width, could pose a huge threat to our planet. It’s a stark reminder of the cosmic dangers to Earth.
According to NASA, more than 90% of near-Earth asteroids that are wider than 1km have been discovered. A space object of 1km could easily cause global destruction if it were to collide with Earth. Moreover, there are expected to be about 15,000 near-Earth asteroids measuring less than 140m in width. Researchers say only 30% of them have been found.