• A massive asteroid will fly past Earth
  • The asteroid can be spotted using telescopes and binoculars
  • Live streaming events will show the asteroid's flyby 

A massive asteroid is expected to safely fly past Earth on Wednesday (April 29). Due to its size and distance from Earth, skygazers will be able to catch a glimpse of the asteroid using telescopes, binoculars and even special live streaming events.

The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), which is NASA’s automated asteroid tracker, identified the approaching space rock as 1998 OR2. As indicated in the agency’s database, the asteroid measures about 2.5 miles wide or around 13,500 feet, which makes it longer than the entire Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1998 OR2 is expected to fly past the planet on April 29 at 4:56 a.m. EDT at a speed of over 19,000 miles per hour. It will zip past Earth from a distance of 0.04205 astronomical units or around 3.9 million miles away.

After this week’s approach, 1998 OR2’s next near-Earth flyby will occur on May 18, 2031. During this time, the asteroid will fly past Earth from 0.12711 astronomical units or almost 12 million miles away.

According to Sky and Telescope, the asteroid’s magnitude or overall brightness will increase as it approaches Earth this week. During its flyby, the asteroid is expected to glow bright enough to be spotted by a small telescope or pair of binoculars.

Those looking to catch a glimpse of the approaching asteroid may do so with the help of Sky and Telescope’s detailed cosmic map. Through this map, skygazers will be able to plot the asteroid’s trajectory as it approaches Earth.

Using stars and well-known constellations in the sky, sky gazers will be able to anticipate where the asteroid will appear from. Similar to previous asteroid sightings, 1998 OR2 will look like a star that’s moving slowly.

As for those who do not have the proper equipment to observe the asteroid, they may still catch its flyby through live streaming events that will be hosted by observatories and space agencies.

One of these events will be hosted by the Virtual Telescope Project, which features observations by remotely accessible robotic telescopes. It will host a live streaming event through its website for the flyby of 1998 OR2.

Image: Artist illustration of an asteroid heading for the Earth Pixabay