New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: A massive asteroid considered to be threat greater than nuclear bomb is heading towards Earth in late December, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) asteroid tracker. If the asteroid impacts the Earth, the result could be devastating. The asteroid named 2018 AH is estimated to be about 190 meters wide and will pass the Earth on December 27 at a distance of over 4.5 million kilometres, The Jerusalem Post reported. 

The asteroid has had a previous encounter with the Earth in 2018, where it passed the planet at a distance of 296,758 kilometres, almost three-quarters of the distance between the Earth and the Moon. However, since the asteroid does not have its own light, it had gone unnoticed, and therefore scientists didn't see it coming. Since 2018, no asteroid of such massive size approached the Earth so closely, and none are expected to approach the planet until 2028.

According to the US space agency, 2018 AH is a near-Earth object and has been classified as being in the Apollo category. Asteroids that fall in the apollo category are considered the most hazardous asteroids. These asteroids that cross Earth pose a threat of collision with the planet. However, according to the space agency, the chances of the celestial body to hit Earth is really less. 

However, the probability of 2018 AH to hit Earth would only occur if it changes its course, and if the asteroid collides with the planet, the result will be devastating. Asteroid 2018 AH will be the biggest known asteroid to travel so near to the Earth. As per researchers, another encounter with a giant asteroid will occur in 2028, when the roughly kilometer-long asteroid 2001 WN5 will travel past the planet. 

The last impact this big from an asteroid took place in 1908 above the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Russia, which is now known as the Tunguska event. This asteroid is believed to have been around the same size as 2018 AH. 

Posted By: Mallika Mehzabeen