(CBS / Worthy News)– "The Beast" is coming! That’s the nickname astronomers have given to an asteroid that will nearly sideswipe Earth this Sunday, reports Space.com.
Near-Earth asteroid 2014 HQ124 will be a mere 777,000 miles at its closest approach to our planet, that’s just over 3 times the distance from the Earth to the moon; a close shave by cosmic standards.
2014 HQ124 is 1,100 feet wide and is traveling about 31,000 mph, relative to Earth. If it was on a collision course, the planet’s gravity would actually increase its speed to about 40,000 mph at impact.
"This one would definitely be catastrophic if it hit the Earth," asteroid impact expert Mark Boslough, of Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, said during a webcast produced by the online Slooh community observatory.
"If it hit a city, it would definitely wipe out an entire metropolitan area," he added.