Asteroid 2023 BU passes next to Earth today: schedule and how to watch live
An asteroid detected just days ago will “make an extraordinarily close approach” within the distance of satellites orbiting Earth on Thursday evening.
It was just a few days ago, on January 21st , when the amateur astronomer Gennadiy Borisov discovered that an asteroid would pass very close to Earth within the next few days. He found it from his observatory in Crimea (Ukraine, although in Russian possession), it measures between 11.5 to 28 feet (3.4 and 8.4 meters) and has been named 2023 BU.
The experts were able to capture it thanks to the robotic unit ‘Elena’ (PlaneWave 17″ + Paramount ME + SBIG STL-6303E), with a time exposure of 300 seconds. At the time the images were taken, 2023 BU was about 36,000 miles (58,000 kilometers) from Earth, heading towards our planet. According to scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the asteroid will pass at a minimum distance of 6,200 miles (10,000 kilometers) from the center of the planet.
An approximation of less than 3% of the average lunar distance and therefore, adds NASA, there is no risk of collision. And if there were, the agency adds, “it would become a fireball and disintegrate largely harmlessly in the atmosphere, and some of the larger debris could fall as little meteorites.”
How to follow it live
Soon after its discovery, NASA scientists ruled out that it could hit Earth, although they did confirm that it would come “extraordinarily” close . Not surprisingly, it is one of the “closest approaches of an object to Earth known ever recorded,” explains Davide Farnocchia, navigation engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
The minimum distance will be reached on January 27 at 00:26 UTC (7:26 pm ET), when the asteroid will fly roughly 2,200 miles (3,600 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface (specifically, the southern tip of South America) and within the orbit of global satellites. This will make it the fourth closest asteroid (excluding the five discovered before their subsequent impact).
You can follow the broadcast live through the Virtual Telescope YouTube channel, which will start broadcasting around 4:15 pm Thursday. It will come closest to Earth at 7:26 pm on January 27 (tonight), when it will come within just over 2,200 miles of our planet. If the calculations are true, the asteroid 2023 BU will follow its orbital trajectory and will pass close to Earth again in about 400 days.
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