A massive asteroid is all set to fly extremely close to Earth today, at the speed of 14,092 miles per hour. And if the speed isn't shocking enough – the asteroid is as huge as the Empire State Building.
Dubbed as 2017 VR12, the asteroid is expected to pass within 900,000 miles of Earth around 7:53 am (EST) on Wednesday. Its diameter is between 700ft and 1,500ft – making it bigger than the Empire State Building, which is 1,450ft tall.
NASA has labeled the VR12 a 'potentially hazardous asteroid' due to the close proximity to Earth. Typically, if asteroids come within 4,600,000 miles of Earth, the space agency labels them as hazardous.
This particular one is scheduled to make its trip past Earth on late Wednesday – at a distance of 897,000 miles – which is three times the distance between our planet and the moon.
However, NASA has also assured that there is no possibility for the 2017 VR12 to collide with Earth. If anything, the agency believes the asteroid could be a perfect target for future aerospace studies.
"This object is on the NHATS list of potential spacecraft mission targets, although no mission is actually planned for this object," the agency explained. "It should be a very strong radar target," they added.
Initially, experts had estimated that the VR12 was about 470 meters wide, leading them to believe that the asteroid was the size of the Buckingham Palace. And while those estimates have been reduced, NASA is still classifying it as a 'medium sized rock.'
As NASA revealed, the 2017 VR12 was first discovered by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii on November 10, 2017. It is also not supposed to come within Earth's range for another 177 years or so.
The live action of the asteroid zooming past Earth can be caught by people all over the world, via the Virtual Telescope project through a live webcast.
Stargazers can watch the asteroid using the 16-inch robotic telescope at the Tenagra Observatories in Arizona, which is a part of the Virtual Telescope Project and Tenagra Observatories.
VR12 comes shortly after another bus-sized asteroid 2018 DV1 that zoomed past Earth and came within 65,000 miles of the planet just last week. The DV1 has a diameter between 20 to 40 feet and flew past at a speed of 11,600mph.