KEY POINTS

  • A massive asteroid will pass by Earth Sunday at 1:08 a.m. EST, according to NASA's CNEOS
  • The space rock is estimated to be as massive as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai at 2,690 feet
  • The giant asteroid will zip past Earth harmlessly and is not included in the ESA's Risk List

Passing by this Thanksgiving weekend is a rare 2,690-foot asteroid — a memorable way to mark this year's holiday amid the pandemic.

Data gathered by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies showed that an asteroid nearly as massive as the Burj Khalifa is expected to zip past Earth Sunday at 1:08 a.m. EST.

The giant asteroid, identified as 153201 (2000 WO107), is the biggest among the several near-Earth asteroids (NEA) that will make close approaches to Earth this week. If the visual of the Burj Khalifa (2,720 feet) in Dubai is not enough to give an idea about the space rock's size, imagine stacking two Empire State Buildings (1,250 feet) on top of each other.

A 2,690-foot asteroid hurtling toward the planet certainly isn't a pleasant thought to have during the holidays, especially if one considers the damage it could potentially cause if it crashes on Earth. However, the CNEOS has confirmed that the asteroid will pass by harmlessly when it makes its flyby in a few days.

The asteroid has not been included in the European Space Agency's (ESA) Risk List and is also not a part of the space agency's Priority List, which means it doesn't pose a threat to Earth.

The closest distance asteroid 153201 (2000 WO107) will get is about 2.6 million miles (4.3 million kilometers) away from the surface of the planet, according to the CNEOS' Close Approach Data Table.

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Small-Body Database Browser said the space rock was discovered about 20 years ago on Nov. 29, 2000.

The NEA is classified as an Aten asteroid, which means it has an Earth-crossing orbit that intersects with that of the planet at certain points. Aten asteroids have a higher chance of making a close approach to Earth due to the shape of their orbits. 

CNEOS is responsible for predicting near-Earth objects' (NEO) close approaches with Earth. Continuously making calculations on different asteroid diameters, impact risks and statistics, the CNEOS publishes its findings on its website to inform the public about any updates concerning NEOs.

Burj Khalifa Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, is located outside of the Dubai Mall. Photo: Reuters