An enormous asteroid, dubbed 2019 OU1, is expected to approach Earth on 28 August from a close distance of only 0.00687 astronomical units (au) or over a million kilometres away, scientists at NASA Jet Propulson Laboratory (JPL) have revealed.
Estimated to be around 150 metres wide, the Apollo-class celestial object that makes up the majority of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) will swing by our planet at a mind-blowing velocity of 13 km/s.
The Apollo class groups Earth-crossing asteroids, with the most graphic example of such an object being the meteor that exploded in the atmosphere near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013, resulting in over a 1,000 people being injured, mostly by broken glass from windows blown out by the shockwave.
According to NASA, PHAs are defined based on certain parameters that measure the asteroid's potential to make "threateningly close approaches to the Earth", specifically all such space rocks with a minimum orbit intersection distance of 0.05 au and an absolute magnitude of 22.0 or less.
The approaching asteroid is said to be the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza, as the Daily Star reported.
Just a few weeks ago, a "city killer" asteroid, dubbed 2019 OK, of similar size whizzed by at just a fifth of the distance to the Moon. It is believed that the colossal rock, which had been tracked down at a very short notice, had the power of an atomic bomb capable of levelling a city.