Asteroid 1994PC1 gets close enough that people with backyard telescopes can see it.
What to know:
The name 1994PC1 comes from the year it was discovered, 1994. It is 2 1/2 times the height of the Empire State Building in New York. It is called a potentially hazardous asteroid because of its size and proximity to Earth. Scientists say an asteroid this size passes this close to the Earth once every 600,000 years. While it is a little more than five times the Earth-moon distance. You can track the asteroid here.
The asteroid be visible in North America hours after its closest approach. According to EarthSky.org, a small telescope pointed at the right time and location should be able to detect the asteroid’s motion.
The website also recommended attaching a camera to the telescope and taking exposures of 30 to 45 seconds.
“An image exposed for several seconds shows the space rock’s motion as a streak of light, while shorter exposures reveal the asteroid as a point of light that appears in different locations in the images,” EarthSky.org wrote.
The site recommends pointing the camera and telescope at a reference star in the trajectory of the asteroid. EarthSky.org has charts to help you find reference stars.