The largest asteroid to pass by Earth this year will approach within some 1.25 million miles (two million kilometres) of our planet on March 21, NASA said Thursday.
The US space agency said it will allow astronomers to get a rare close look at an asteroid.
“When sunlight hits an asteroid’s surface, minerals in the rock absorb some wavelengths while reflecting others,” NASA said. “By studying the spectrum of light reflecting off the surface, astronomers can measure the chemical ‘fingerprints’ of the minerals on the surface of the asteroid.”
Amateur astronomers in some parts of the globe should be able to conduct their own observations.
“The asteroid will be brightest while it moves through southern skies, Chodas said.
“Amateur astronomers in the southern hemisphere and at low northern latitudes should be able to see this asteroid using moderate size telescopes with apertures of at least eight inches in the nights leading up to closest approach, but they will probably need star charts to find it.”
NASA said more than 95 percent of near-Earth asteroids the size of 2001 FO32 or larger have been catalogued and none of them has any chance of impacting our planet over the next century.