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Great news for astronomy enthusiasts who enjoy observing cosmic events safely: the asteroid known as 2013 NK4 is nearing Earth this week, offering a prime viewing opportunity as it zooms by.

Discovered in 2013 by the Siding Spring Survey, this asteroid measures between 400 and 1,000 meters (1,300 and 3,280 feet) in diameter. Due to its substantial size, NASA categorizes it as a “potentially hazardous” near-Earth object because of the significant threat it would pose should it ever collide with our planet.

The Celestron – AstroMaster 70AZ Telescope is a superb choice for beginners and seasoned stargazers alike, offering clear, detailed views of the night sky.

Thankfully, astronomers are now able to predict the trajectories of such celestial bodies with accuracy up to a century in advance. Currently, NASA reassures that “no known asteroid larger than 140 meters in size poses a significant threat to Earth for the next 100 years.” Additionally, ongoing discoveries and monitoring suggest that we are likely safe from any known objects for the next millennium.

If you’re new to astronomy and need guidance on where to point your telescope, consider picking up a copy of Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope – and How to Find Them. This guidebook is invaluable for locating and identifying various celestial phenomena.

The asteroid 2013 NK4 made its closest pass by Earth on Monday, safely distancing itself more than eight times further than the Moon, exactly as predicted by astrophysicists. During its flyby, NASA seized the opportunity to capture detailed images of the asteroid, enhancing our understanding of its structure and composition.

Preliminary analysis by EarthSky suggests that 2013 NK4 might be a contact binary asteroid, a type of asteroid formed when two smaller bodies gravitate toward each other and merge. This formation is similar to that of asteroid Arrokoth, which was observed up close by the NASA probe New Horizons.

Lastly, to ensure you’re viewing safely and comfortably, adjustable observing chairs are designed to support long periods of stargazing without the neck strain typically associated with looking up for extended times.

For those eager to catch a glimpse of 2013 NK4, it remains visible in the night sky. Although it made its nearest approach on April 15, it will be easier to spot on April 16 and 17. With the help of a telescope and a guide to pinpoint its location, you have a great chance to observe this intriguing space rock as it journeys through our cosmic neighborhood.

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