Giant 'Potentially Hazardous' Asteroid to Make Its Closest Approach to Earth in Century

© courtesy of B612 FoundationSimulation of an asteroid heading towards earth
Simulation of an asteroid heading towards earth - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.02.2022
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Despite its relatively big size, the space boulder was only discovered in November 1999 - after it came close to Earth.
Asteroid (455176) 1999 VF22- a "potentially hazardous" space rock - will fly past our planet next Tuesday, 22 February, in its closest pass in over a hundred years.
The flyby is perfectly safe because the object is expected to fly 5,366,000 kilometres (3,334,000 miles) away from Earth - with the next time it coming so close only in 2150.
According to NASA's Small-Body Database, an absolute magnitude for the asteroid is 20.7 - however, the exact size of the object remains unclear. It is believed to be between 190 and 430 metres (623 to 1,410 feet), while some observations in 2019 estimated it at 225 metres (738 feet).
© NASAArtistic illustration of an asteroid flying by Earth
Artistic illustration of an asteroid flying by Earth - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.02.2022
Artistic illustration of an asteroid flying by Earth
It will be possible to see the asteroid from Earth - but only with a large telescope.
The space rock was discovered in November 1999 by the Catalina Sky Survey, after coming close enough to Earth.
Potentially hazardous asteroids are objects with an orbit that can make close approaches to the Earth that are large enough to cause significant regional damage if they collide with the planet. There are believed to be over 2,200 such objects in space.
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