For Pete's Sake

‘Potentially hazardous’ asteroid will pass near Earth hours before Super Bowl LII

The trajectory of Asteroid 2002 AJ129 that will fly past Earth on February 4

Asteroid 2002 AJ129 will make a close approach to Earth on Feb. 4, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. EST. At the time of closest approach, the asteroid will be no closer than 10 times the distance between Earth and the Moon (about 2.6 million miles, or 4.2 millio
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Asteroid 2002 AJ129 will make a close approach to Earth on Feb. 4, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. EST. At the time of closest approach, the asteroid will be no closer than 10 times the distance between Earth and the Moon (about 2.6 million miles, or 4.2 millio

This should be of particular interest to Dallas Cowboys fans, who are torn between rooting for the archrival Eagles or the dreaded Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

NASA says an asteroid that is between 0.3 miles and 0.75 miles wide will make its closest approach to Earth just two hours before kickoff on Feb. 4.

Of course, it won’t be that close, but for fans who dislike both teams, this will have to do.

“Asteroid 2002 AJ129 will be no closer than 10 times the distance between Earth and the Moon (about 2.6 million miles),” NASA said on its website. “Although asteroid 2002 AJ129 is categorized as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA), it does not pose an actual threat of colliding with our planet for the foreseeable future.”

Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said there is no danger for anyone currently alive.

“We have been tracking this asteroid for over 14 years and know its orbit very accurately,” Chodas said on NASA’s website. “Our calculations indicate that asteroid 2002 AJ129 has no chance — zero — of colliding with Earth on Feb. 4 or any time over the next 100 years.”

The asteroid will be moving at 76,000 mph, and NASA showed how close it will get to Earth in the video above.

And, yes, some football fans were rooting for the asteroid:

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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