Next week, an asteroid with a diameter larger than the Burj Khalifa will pass by Earth at its closest approach. The space rock, known as asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1, is 1.05 kilometres across, while the world’s tallest building in Dubai is 0.83 kilometres.
It will safely pass by the planet in the late hours of January 18 at a distance of 1.9 million kilometres and a speed of approximately 76,192 kilometres per hour. Since Scottish-Australian astronomer Robert McNaught discovered the space rock in 1994, Nasa has been tracking it.
According to a report from the European Space Agency, the asteroid will pass safely over the UAE and will be visible through a telescope. On January 19, at 1.49 a.m. UAE time, it will make its closest approach to Earth.
Asteroids are rocky remnants of the early solar system’s formation. More than 1.1 million have been discovered, but many more are still unknown. While an asteroid colliding with Earth shortly is unlikely, it is not out of the realm of possibility.