An asteroid slightly bigger than a football field is expected to fly past Earth Monday night, and some people may be lucky enough to witness it.
The asteroid, named 1994 WR12, is about 390 feet long, just 30 feet longer than a football field, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It was first spotted by astronomer Carolyn Shoemaker at the Palomar Observatory in California in November 1994.
The asteroid had been on the Sentry Risk Table, a list of asteroids from NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies that observers believed could strike Earth within the next 100 years. The asteroid was taken off the list in 2016.
An impact from 1994 WR12 would be catastrophic. NASA says it would strike with an explosion equal to 77 megatons of TNT. For reference, the Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear bomb ever tested, was the equivalent of 57 megatons of TNT, according to BBC.
Fortunately, the asteroid won't be hitting Earth, but it will get as close as 3.8 million miles. It isn't expected to get any closer to Earth until 2046, at about 1.01 million miles. CBS Sacramento reported California residents would be able to see the asteroid with a telescope from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. PT.
What happens if an asteroid heads toward Earth?: NASA has a plan, and it involves a crash
More huge asteroids to approach Earth in the coming weeks
Asteroid 1994 WR12 won't be the only asteroid approaching Earth in the next two months.
One of the closest approaches Earth will see will come Friday, when the asteroid WK1 2021, about 64 feet long, will come within 652,000 miles of Earth.
Several asteroids bigger than 1994 WR12 also will be approaching the planet, and the biggest will be 1994 PC1. That asteroid, estimated to be at least 3,600 feet and bigger than any building in the world, will come within 1.2 million miles of Earth on Jan. 18.
Here are some other asteroids approaching Earth, their size, how close they will be from us and on what day:
2003 SD220: 2,595 feet, will be 3.4 million miles away from Earth on Dec. 17.
1982 DB: 1,082 feet, will be 2.4 million miles away from Earth on Dec. 11.
2017 AE3: 393 feet, will be 2.2 million miles away from Earth on Dec. 29.
2016 TR54: 380 feet, will be 4 million miles away from Earth on Dec. 24.
The biggest asteroid to pass by Earth in 2021 came in March, when Asteroid 2001 FO32, estimated to be 3,000 feet wide, came within 1.2 million miles.
Though these asteroids don't pose a threat to Earth, NASA launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, on Nov. 25. The agency will test if it is possible to knock an asteroid away from Earth should one ever head directly toward the planet.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Football field-sized asteroid to approach Earth on Monday night