An asteroid called Apophis approximately 340-meters wide will fly between the Earth and Moon on April 13, 2029.
The “close” flyby would be within 19,000 miles of Earth, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
It will be the closest any asteroid, that massive, will come to Earth’s proximity that scientists have known about in advance, NASA says.
Flying past at such a close distance, scientists predict that the asteroid will be within the distance of some of the spacecraft that orbit earth.
NASA says that although smaller asteroids, in the range of 16 to 33 feet or five to ten meters, in size have been observed passing by at similar distances, nothing as humongous as Apophis has flown past at this distance.
NASA predicts that during its 2029 flyby, Apophis will first be visible to the naked eye in the night sky over the southern hemisphere and will appear as a speck of light moving from east to west over Australia.
Apophis will then cross above the Indian Ocean, and continue its journey towards the west, as it will cross the equator over Africa.
The speed of Apophis would be quite fast and it will cross the Atlantic in just an hour.
Radar scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Marina Brozović, who works on radar observations of near-Earth objects (NEOs), says that the Apophis’ close approach in 2029 will be an incredible opportunity for science.
The flyby will give scientists an opportunity to observe the asteroid with both optical and radar telescopes.