‘Extraordinarily close’ asteroid is about to fly past Earth, NASA says

(ORDO NEWS) — A truck-sized asteroid will fly by Earth on Thursday in one of the closest approaches to our planet ever recorded, NASA said, emphasizing that it poses no danger.

Asteroid 2023 BU, which was recently discovered by an amateur astronomer, will approach the southern tip of South America around 4:27 pm PST on Thursday (0027 GMT on Friday), according to NASA.

It will travel only 2,200 miles (3,600 kilometers) from the Earth’s surface, much closer than many geostationary satellites orbiting the planet.

But there is no risk that the asteroid will collide with Earth, NASA said.

Even if it did, an asteroid 3.5–8.5 meters (11–28 ft) across would largely disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere, potentially just resulting in a few small meteorites.

It was discovered on Saturday from an observatory in Crimea by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov, who previously spotted the interstellar comet in 2019.

Then dozens of observations were made by observatories around the world.

NASA’s Scout impact assessment system quickly determined that the asteroid would miss Earth, the US space agency said.

“Despite very few observations, it was nonetheless we can predict that the asteroid will make an extremely close approach to Earth,” said NASA’s Davide Farnocchia, who helped develop the Scout.

“In fact, this is one of the closest known near-Earth object encounters ever recorded.”

The asteroid will come so close that its trajectory around the Sun will be significantly changed.

Previously, the asteroid took 359 days to make a complete orbit around the Sun, but after such a close contact with the Earth, it will now take 425 days, according to NASA.


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