WASHINGTON — A giant asteroid will pass by Earth next month and its approach will be so close, observers may mistake it for a slow-moving star.
Asteroid 1998 OR2 will make its closest approach -- about 4 million miles -- on April 29 at about 5:56 a.m. EDT, according to EarthSky.
The asteroid is about 2.5 miles wide, making it the size of some mountains on Earth.
The rock is technically considered a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid by the Center for Near Earth Objects. But it will pass at a distance about 16 times that of the Earth to the moon. Large objects within 19.5 lunar distances get the hazardous designation, according to EarthSky.
There are two ways you will be able to see it. If you want to skywatch from home, you will need a telescope. EarthSky says you will need at least a 6-inch or 8-inch telescope. This link has other tips and graphics showing where to look.
The other way to watch will be online thanks to the Virtual Telescope Project in Rome. It will livestream the asteroid starting on April 28.
This will be the most significant close approach of an asteroid until 2027, according to EarthSky. That's when a huge asteroid called 1990 MU will pass within 12 lunar distances.