, , , ,

Next week, a massive, aircraft carrier-sized asteroid will be closer to Earth than our own moon. The asteroid, called 2005 YU55, will speed past our planet on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

The 1,300-foot-wide asteroid is not a threat to us, but astronomers are extremely excited because this is the first time that they know about an object of this size approaching the planet. The asteroid – which is darker than coal, round, and rougher than other objects that have approached Earth – will be photographed and analyzed as it whizzes by.

This radar image of asteroid 2005 YU55 was generated from data taken in April 2010 by the Arecibo Radar Telescope in Puerto Rico. Image credit: NASA/Cornell/Arecibo

The asteroid will reach its closest point to Earth at 6:28 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. So I know you’re wondering: Can I catch a glimpse? Maybe. Here’s what you need, according to Space.com,

The asteroid will pose a challenge for amateur astronomers because it will be faint and fast-moving. A small telescope with a mirror no smaller than 6 inches (15 centimeters) is required to try and spot it.

This isn’t the first time 2005 YU55 has visited our area of the solar system. However, it’s the closest approach the asteroid has made in the last 200 years.

Want to learn about more near-Earth objects? Look here.