On Friday, asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass within 17,200 miles—or 15 minutes—of Earth, according to scientist Bill Nye.
While the asteroid, which Nye said is comparable in size to the one responsible for the 1908 Tunguska event, is expected to pass harmlessly by, Nye said it is a very close shave relatively speaking.
It's closest closest approach, is expected to occur at 2:24 p.m. EST.
"This one will miss us by about 15 minutes," Nye explained. "Fifteen minutes difference and that's it."
If it were not for those 15 minutes, life for millions of people could end.
"If such a meteor were to hit Atlanta or New York City or Boston, that would be it for those municipalities," Nye said.
As much as 1,200 square miles would be destroyed, Nye said.
According to Nye, there are approximately 100,000 "Earth-crossing" asteroids and, for the first time in human history, the possibility exists that something could be done should one threaten Earth.
"It is something that we as humans all over the world ought to get involved in," he said.
Want to learn more about astronomy and what's out there in the universe? The Westchester Amateur Astronomers have two upcoming lectures at Pace University's Miller Lecture Hall in Pleasantville. On March 1, Scott Nammacher is set to discuss astrophotography and construction of his remotely-operated two-story observatory.
And, on April 5, Dr. Caleb Scharf is set to speak about his book, Gravity's Engines.
The WAA lectures are free and open to the public.