ASTRONOMERS have shared an image of an asteroid spotted at the last minute before a close flyby of Earth later in the day.
About the size of a school bus, the space rock poses no threat to Earth, but will come closer to our planet than the moon.
The object has been added to Nasa’s “Close Approaches”. Database under the name 2022 HB1.
It was photographed ahead of its approach at 10:52 p.m. UK time (5:52 p.m. EST) tonight by astronomers from the Virtual Telescope Project.
“The near-Earth asteroid will meet us very close but surely,” said Gianluca Masi, who leads the project.
It’s one of thousands of near-Earth Objects (NEOs) being tracked 24/7 by experts.
They hope to give us early warning if a space rock is on a collision course with our planet.
Any object within 4.65 million miles of us is classified as “potentially dangerous” by cautious space organizations.
According to NASA, 2022 HB1 is up to 21 meters long and has a speed of 14 kilometers per second.
It will approach Earth within 200,000 kilometers – about half the distance between our planet and the moon.
That’s pretty close from a space perspective, although there’s no indication the asteroid has a chance of hitting us.
Even if it collided with our planet, the space rock wouldn’t pose a threat because it’s small enough to safely burn up in the atmosphere.
The Virtual Telescope Project is hosting a live stream of the flyby on its website website which begins at 19:30 UK time (14:30 EST).
It’s one of half a dozen asteroids expected to make a close approach to our planet this week.
Fortunately, none of the asteroids tracked by Nasa pose a threat to us.
Astronomers are currently tracking 2,000 asteroids, comets and other objects that may one day threaten our light blue dot, and new ones are being discovered every day.
Earth has not seen an asteroid of apocalyptic proportions since the space rock that wiped out dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
However, smaller objects capable of leveling an entire city do crash to earth from time to time.
One devastated a few hundred yards over 800 square miles of forest near Tunguska in Siberia on June 30, 1908.
Luckily, Nasa doesn’t think any of the NEOs it’s keeping an eye on are on a collision course with our planet.
That could change in the coming months or years, however, as the space agency frequently revises the predicted trajectories of objects.
“NASA is currently not aware of any asteroid or comet on a collision course with Earth, so the likelihood of a major collision is fairly low,” NASA says.
“As far as we can tell, no large object is likely to hit Earth for the next hundred years.”
Even if one did hit our planet, the vast majority of asteroids would not wipe out life as we know it.
According to NASA, “global catastrophes” are only triggered when objects with a diameter of more than 900 meters hit the earth.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8708646/asteroid-soar-past-earth-closer-moon-watch-live/ Asteroid will fly by Earth today and be even CLOSER than the Moon – watch it live