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Largest asteroid of 2022 so far to make close approach to Earth

The size of the asteroid is reportedly twice the size of the world's largest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai.
Credit: Mopic - stock.adobe.com

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Editor's note: The photo used above is a stock image.

News of asteroids flying toward Earth is nothing new, but this incoming chunk of rock and metal is making the closest approach to the planet in 2022 so far.

Deemed as "potentially hazardous" because of the close proximity, the more than a mile-long asteroid, called 1989 JA, will zoom past Earth on Friday, May, 27, according to The Weather Channel.

The size of the asteroid is reportedly twice the size of Dubai's skyscraper Burj Khalifa — the largest in the world — and it belongs to the group of 878 asteroids that are at least 3,280-feet wide.

USA Today says an asteroid that large could cause "catastrophe on Earth" upon impact, but people don't need to worry because even with the closest approach, it will still be 2.5 million miles away.

SETI Institute's Senior Planetary Astronomer Franck Marchis told USA Today the space rock is traveling around 30,000 mph.

"To provide some context, that is 17 times the speed of a bullet through the air. At this speed, the asteroid could travel around the planet Earth in 45 minutes," Marchis said to the media outlet.

According to The Weather Channel, the 1989 JA is similar to the Chelyabinsk asteroid that breached Earth's atmosphere in 2013 — breaking windows, damaging buildings and mobile network overloads in six Russian cities.

While the asteroid won't actually hit Earth, NASA is reportedly preparing for the possibility of contact. The space agency also says it's unlikely to get this close to the Earth again for the next 172 years, according to The Weather Channel.

Anyone wanting to watch 1989 JA fly past Earth can tune into Virtual Telescope Project's live stream Thursday and Friday in partnership with Telescope live. The live stream will air from Chile starting from 7 p.m. EST Thursday and from Argentina at 9 a.m. EST Friday.

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