Asteroid heading towards Earth in one of the closest encounters ever recorded
An asteroid is hurtling towards Earth and is expected to make one of the closest flybys ever, Nasa has said.
The object is expected to come by safely. But it will be incredibly close: closer to Earth than the orbit of many asteroids.
The object will be closest on Thursday evening or Friday morning, depending on where people are. It will arrive at 00:27 Irish time on Friday or 19:27 Eastern time on Thursday evening.
It is believed to be about 3.5 meters by about 8.5 meters.
And it was only sighted days before it approaches. It was discovered on January 21 by amateur astronomer Gennadiy Borisov, who also spotted comet 2l/Borisov, a fascinating object believed to have visited us from outside the solar system.
Within days, other astronomers had not only confirmed the object’s existence, but also made dozens of observations of it, helping scientists predict its orbit through space.
After it was spotted, NASA examined it with its Scout system, designed to predict the danger of potential collisions. He said he would miss Earth – but only just.
“Scout quickly ruled out 2023 BU as an impactor, but despite the very few observations, was able to predict that the asteroid would make an exceptionally close approach to Earth,” said Davide Farnocchia, a navigation engineer at JPL who developed Scout.
“In fact, this is one of the closest approaches of a known near-Earth object ever recorded.”
Nasa says there is “no danger” of the object colliding with Earth.
But even if it were, it probably wouldn’t do any significant damage. The asteroid would turn into a fireball upon impact with the atmosphere and disintegrate, leaving behind at most a few small asteroids.
However, it will come so close to Earth that its course will be significantly altered by our planet’s gravity. Before that pass, it moved in a roughly circular shape, similar to Earth’s orbit, and took 359 days to orbit the sun.
However, scientists believe that the route through the solar system will be stretched after it makes its passage, making it longer. At its farthest point from the sun, it is now roughly halfway between the orbits of Earth and Mars and takes around 425 days to travel around our star.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/asteroid-flying-towards-earth-in-one-of-the-closest-encounters-ever-recorded-42315017.html Asteroid heading towards Earth in one of the closest encounters ever recorded