Moscow residents will be able to see the Vesta asteroid with the naked eye as it flies past the Earth during the night of Jan. 18, according to a press release from the Moscow Planetarium.
“The Vesta asteroid will be the brightest one in 2017, as it will be opposite to the Sun,” the press release stated.
As the planetarium explained, Vesta is the only asteroid that is visible on a clear day without a telescope. It is 576 kilometres wide and its surface is very bright.
On the night of Jan. 18, Vesta will pass by the Earth at a distance of about 229 million kilometres. The asteroid will be visible in the constellation of Cancer between 5 pm and 7 am.
Vesta is the second largest celestial body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, with only the Pallas asteroid being larger. German astronomer Heinrich Olbers discovered the Vesta asteroid on Mar. 29, 1807, and named it after the Roman goddess of the hearth.