Eerie image shows 'potentially hazardous' asteroid that's heading our way next month

ASTRONOMERS have shared a new image of a 'potentially hazardous' asteroid that is expected to shoot past Earth in May.

The photo, shared by the Virtual Telescope Project on Tuesday, shows an asteroid designated (7335) 1989 JA in the distance.

Asteroid (7335) 1989 JA was captured from a single 300-second exposure by a robotic unit dubbed “Elena”.

At the imaging time, the rocky object was around 57 million km from Earth, but slowly approaching us.

On May 27, the asteroid may come as close as 2,485,484 miles from Earth – that's about 10.5 times the lunar distance.

Labeled as 'large', the object measures roughly 5,900 feet in diameter, or about four times the size of the Empire State Building.

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Furthermore, asteroid (7335) 1989 JA is classified as 'potentially hazardous'.

What is a potentially hazardous asteroid?

Nasa's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) explains on its website: "Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth."

Large fast-moving space objects that come within 4.65 million miles of Earth are considered to be "potentially hazardous" by cautious space organizations.

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One small change to their trajectories could spell disaster for Earth.

An asteroid would also need to be 460 feet or larger in size to be considered potentially hazardous by Nasa.

Thousands of near-earth objects (NEOs) are tracked by scientists to monitor whether they're on a collision course with our planet.

Nasa lists them in its NEO Earth Close Approaches table.

Scientists at Virtual Telescope emphasized that Asteroid (7335) 1989 JA poses no risk for our planet.

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Asteroids are rocky objects that orbit the Sun; they are smaller than a planet but larger than a meteoroid.

This specific space rock was discovered by Eleanor Helin in May 1989.

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