My Grandpa Barrett phoned me last night to let me know that Asteroid JO25 (pronounced Jo Twenty Five) is going to fly past Earth tonight after my bedtime, and this is the closest visit the asteroid has had in 400 years. Grandpa said it’s going to be a million miles away from earth and when he says a million miles he means a million miles not like when I say a million when I just mean something superbly big.
Also he told me Jo was as big as the Rock of Gibraltar which I guess is pretty big but I don’t know for sure because I never saw that rock but if it has its own name, it must be really big. None of the rocks in my mom’s friend Kimmy’s rock garden have names and some of them are even bigger than me.
NASA says the asteroid looks like a barbell so I’m guessing that when Jo comes back for another visit, Jo will probably be two smaller asteroids. Maybe they’ll get renamed Jo 12 and Jo 13 (because 12 plus 13 equals 25). I think so because NASA says it’s going to be another half a millennium before Jo swings past Earth again, and a half a millennium means 500 more years.
Here’s a NASA video of what Jo looks like now.
My Grandpa Barrett said the next time a humongous asteroid goes past Earth, it’s going to be 2027. That’s a long time to wait for another chance to look at a asteroid so close to earth, so tonight’s the night for having your telescope out and pointed in the right direction.
Also in more space news, a comet called PanSTARRS is going to go zipping past Earth and if you’re looking through binoculars or telescopes, NASA says you probably are going to see it go zipping past.
Here’s the most amazing thing about Jo and Pan. NASA says they got made 4.5 billion years ago. I cannot even imagine how long ago that was but my Grandpa Barrett says that Earth got made about the same amount of time ago give or take 0.05 billion years. I tried to figure out how many years 0.05 billion years is and it’s either 5 million years extra or not quite that many.
I’m not so good with math yet especially when it’s superbly humongous numbers like 0.05 billion years.
So if Jo is going past your house tonight and it’s not past your bedtime, you should get out your telescope and watch the asteroid go by. You’ll be glad you did because it’s not every day a asteroid comes to visit Earth on his way other places in the universe.