Tech & Science

Asteroid to zoom by Earth closer than the moon

An asteroid discovered last week will pass closer to Earth than it does to the Moon this weekend, according to NASA.

The asteroid, called 2023 DZ2, will make its closest approach to Earth on Saturday at 175,029 kilometers, less than half the distance to the Moon (384,000 kilometers).

It was discovered last Thursday by astronomers at an observatory in the Canary Islands, a Spanish autonomous community located off the northwest coast of Africa.

Asteroids are about 40 to 90 meters in diameter and range in size from slightly smaller than the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to as tall as the Statue of Liberty in New York.

It is traveling at about 7.78 kilometers per second, or about 28,000 kilometers per hour.

The NASA Asteroid Watch Twitter account flagged the approaching asteroid, adding that it passed safely.

“Using this approach approach, astronomers from the International Asteroid Warning Network will learn as much as possible about 2023 DZ2 in a short period of time. Good #PlanetaryDefense practice,” the tweet said.

Current estimates show the asteroid will be closest to Earth shortly before 4:00 PM EDT, but advises amateur astronomers. hoping to catch a glimpse of an asteroid with a telescope See you Friday night.

Asteroids fly by Earth all the time, but asteroids of this size rarely pass this close. Most asteroids are recorded as “approaching” the Earth. Center for Near-Earth Object Research Even if it passes within 0.2 AU or more than 29 million kilometers away, it is classified as a Near-Earth Object (NEO), so it is much smaller or passes much farther.

The next time an asteroid will pass by Earth closer than the Moon is in 2026, when an asteroid between 15 and 33 meters in diameter was first discovered in 2013.

In 2028, 2001 WN5, an asteroid the size of the Golden Gate Bridge with a diameter of 0.93 kilometers, which last passed in 2019, will approach.

And in 2029, the famous asteroid Apophis, named after the Greek word for the Egyptian god of chaos, will whiz past just 37,000 kilometers away.

Many agencies are looking to the skies to keep an eye out for asteroids and other space objects that could pose a collision threat to Earth. Apophis has been frowned upon for years, but a distant Earth flyby in 2021 has allowed astronomers to confirm it. It will not pose a threat to the planet within the next 100 years.

Last year, during a tense week in January, astronomers believed in a newly discovered asteroid May collide with Earth in 2023, indicating higher risk levels than seen in the last decade. Fortunately, further observations confirm that initial estimates of the orbit of asteroid 2022 AE1 were incorrect. This her July will safely pass over 9 million kilometers away.

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