Asteroid the size of a van hurtling past Earth
Cape Canaveral: A delivery truck-sized asteroid will whip past Earth on Thursday evening, in one of the closest such encounters on record.
NASA insists it will be a near miss without the asteroid being able to hit Earth.
NASA said this newly discovered asteroid will zoom 3,600 kilometers over the southern tip of South America. That’s ten times closer than the swarm of communications satellites orbiting overhead.
Closest approach occurs at 7:27 p.m. EST (11:27 a.m. Friday AEDT).
Even if the space rock got much closer, scientists said most of it would burn up in the atmosphere, with some larger pieces potentially falling as meteorites.
NASA’s impact hazard rating system, called Scout, quickly ruled out a strike, said its developer Davide Farnocchia, an engineer at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
“But despite the very few observations, it was still able to predict that the asteroid would make an extraordinarily close approach to Earth,” Farnocchia said in a statement. “In fact, this is one of the closest approaches of a known near-Earth object ever recorded.”
The asteroid 2023 BU discovered on Saturday is said to have a diameter between 3.5 and 8.5 meters. It was first discovered by the same amateur astronomer in Crimea, Gennady Borisov, who discovered an interstellar comet in 2019. In a matter of days, dozens of observations were made by astronomers around the world, allowing them to refine the asteroid’s orbit.
The asteroid’s orbit is drastically altered by Earth’s gravity as it passes. Instead of orbiting the sun every 359 days, NASA says it will move on an oval orbit that lasts 425 days.
https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/extraordinarily-close-asteroid-the-size-of-a-delivery-truck-to-whip-past-earth-20230126-p5cfql.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Asteroid the size of a van hurtling past Earth