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Large asteroid to safely fly by Earth close enough to see with a telescope Wednesday

Large asteroid to safely fly by Earth close enough to see with a telescope Wednesday nasa (4) (1).jpg
Large asteroid to safely fly by Earth close enough to see with a telescope Wednesday nasa (NASA)

An asteroid -- estimated to be one to two miles in diameter -- will pass by Earth early Wednesday, April 29 just before 4 a.m. MDT, according to NASA.

NASA is tracking the asteroid, called 52768 (1998 OR2), but their orbit calculations have ruled out any chance the object could collide with Earth as it's expected to pass by Earth 4 million miles away.

Paul Chodas, director of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies says:

This is an asteroid that we have been tracking for over 20 years. We've been predicting this close approach for a long time. It's one of the larger near-Earth asteroids, so it's kind of notable. It's around two to three kilometers in diameter, maybe one-and-a-half to two miles across, so that makes it pretty significant, but it's passing pretty far away.

Asteroid 52768 (1998 OR2) was first discovered by NASA in 1998, and NASA says it's large enough "to cause global effects if one impacted Earth."

Planetary Defense Officer and Program Executive for the Planetary Defense Coordination Office Lindley Johnson says:

It's important that we find these asteroids as far out in time as we can -- 20 years for this particular one -- because the more time we have to determine whether the asteroid is on a trajectory to impact the Earth, the more time we'll have to prepare for that and perhaps do something about it.

The object will be close enough to be seen with a telescope, but still further away than the moon. NASA regularity tracks near-Earth objects (NEOs) online.

You can watch the object online through the Virtual Telescope Project.