ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A large asteroid will pass close by Earth this afternoon. You may be able to see it with a good telescope or watch it along with the rest of the planet on YouTube. Or you can see it through a live NASA simulation here.

According to, this asteroid will pass about 1.2 million miles away from Earth. That means skywatchers may be able to see it with a small telescope. The closest approach will be 3:51 p.m. central time today.

NASA identifies it as (7842) 1994 PC1 and it was discovered in 1994. The asteroid is moving at around 43,000 miles per hour, over a half-mile in diameter, and orbits the sun every 572 days. It won’t be this close to Earth again for at least 200 years.

The object is expected to pass by Earth safely but NASA is still categorizing it as“potentially hazardous.” Potentially hazardous asteroids are defined as being more than about 460 feet in size with orbits that bring them as close as within 4.6 million miles of the Earth’s orbit around the sun.

Asteroids are small, rocky objects left over from the solar system’s formation some 4.5 billion years ago. They orbit the sun and mostly live in the asteroid belt, located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids are made of different kinds of rocks, and no two are alike.

In March, the asteroid Apophis, roughly the size of three football fields, passed by Earth approximately 10.4 million miles away — nearly 44 times as far away as the moon.