As you go about enjoying the last day in the month of May, a giant asteroid is scheduled to pass by the Earth. The asteroid is in no danger of hitting our little blue planet, but astronomers say that it will be the closest asteroid to pass by the Earth within the next 200 years.
Space.com says the asteroid in question is called “Asteroid 1998 QE2.” It will pass by the Earth at a minimum of 3.6 million miles away from our planet at 4:59 p.m. EST, so it poses no threat of colliding with us. The asteroid was first discovered in August 1998, when a team of astronomers at MIT’s Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research program in New Mexico noticed the trajectory of a rogue asteroid in the sky.
Unfortunately, the asteroid is too far away to view with the naked eye, but it was also recently discovered that it’s so big that it has its own moon orbiting it. Asteroid 1998 QE2 is about 1.7 miles wide, while its moon is dwarfed at approximately 2,000 feet wide. If the giant asteroid were to hit our planet, it would completely annihilate all of civilization.
While Asteroid 1998 QE2’s likelihood of colliding with our planet is in the millions, astronomers using the Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California are keeping an eye out for the asteroid as it’s scheduled to fly by us. The data gained from the observation of the giant asteroid could benefit any future global killer space rocks that pass by dangerously too close to the Earth.
Since it is too far away to watch with the naked eye, Space.com is live-streaming the asteroid’s progress as it passes by the Earth. Let’s just hope Asteroid 1998 QE2 doesn’t change course for Earth, then Michael Bay’s Armageddon would be the planet’s only plan for salvation.