Large asteroid coming close, but zero chance of hitting us


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – An asteroid big enough to wipe out a city will zip harmlessly between Earth and the moon’s orbit this weekend, missing both celestial bodies.

Saturday’s close encounter will offer astronomers the chance to study a space rock from just over 100,000 miles (168,000 kilometers) away. That’s less than half the distance from here to the moon, making it visible through binoculars and small telescopes.

While asteroid flybys are common, NASA said it’s rare for one so big to come so close – about once a decade. Scientists estimate its size somewhere between 130 feet and 300 feet (40 meters and 90 meters).

Discovered a month ago, the asteroid known as 2023 DZ2 will pass within 320,000 miles (515,000 kilometers) of the moon on Saturday and, several hours later, buzz the Indian Ocean at about 17,500 mph (28,000 kph).

“There is no chance of this ‘city killer’ striking Earth, but its close approach offers a great opportunity for observations,” the European Space Agency’s planetary defense chief Richard Moissl said in a statement.

Astronomers with the International Asteroid Warning Network see it as good practice for planetary defense if and when a dangerous asteroid heads our way, according to NASA.

The Virtual Telescope Project will provide a live webcast of the close approach.

The asteroid won’t be back our way again until 2026. Although there initially seemed to be a slight chance it might strike Earth then, scientists have since ruled that out.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Interested in advertising with us?

We’d love to have you on the team! Drop us a line and we’ll be happy to follow up. 

Categories

Let's Connect

Follow along on your favorite social media platform and get the latest updates directly in your feed!

Got a tip on a story?
Search

Submit a Tip

Have a tip on a story? Send it directly to our team using the form below!