A newly discovered asteroid will come very close to Earth this week.
Asteroid 2023 BU measures between 12 and 28 feet across (3.8 to 8.5 meters) and was discovered on Saturday (January 21) by astronomer Gennadiy Borisov at the MARGO Observatory in Crimea. When it passes close to Earth on Thursday (January 26) at 4:17 pm EST (21:17 GMT), the space rock will be less than 3% of the Earth average.Moon distance at an altitude of only 2,178 miles (3,506 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface.
For comparison, most geostationary satellites it orbits at an attitude of about 22,200 miles (35,800 km).
Most asteroids are not bright enough to see without a powerful telescope; luckily you can see asteroid 2023 BU makes its close encounter with our planet thanks to the Virtual Telescope Project. Astronomer Gianluca Masi will present a free live broadcast of the asteroid’s passage at the project website (opens in a new tab) either Youtube channel (opens in a new tab) on Thursday (January 26) starting at 15:15 EST (2015 GMT) after a brief delay due to clouds at the project’s observing site in Ceccano, Italy.
related: Asteroids: curious facts and information about these space rocks
The asteroid is currently in the Great Bear constellation. Due to its small size, asteroid 2023 BU is quite dim at magnitude 19.15, but could be visible through a powerful telescope operated by an experienced skygazer.
Fortunately for those of us who aren’t veteran asteroid hunters, the Virtual Telescope Project will broadcast everything. “Asteroid 2023 BU will have an extremely close but safe encounter with us soon. [within] less than 10,000 km from the center of the Earth, approximately 25% of the distance of geostationary satellites,” Masi writes on the project page. website (opens in a new tab).
Asteroid 2023 BU is known as an Apollo-type asteroid, meaning its orbit crosses Earth’s but spends most of its time out of our planet’s path, according to the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (opens in a new tab), which is based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California. 2023 BU orbits the sun every 425 days and will not pass close to our planet again until December 1. 6, 2036.
While the asteroid 2023 BU will pass very close to Land, it is not categorized as potentially dangerous. That’s because its small size means it would likely break up and incinerate in terrestrial atmosphere.
Hoping to catch a glimpse of asteroid 2023 BU? Our guides on best telescopes Y best binoculars could help you get started on the path to the right optics. You can also consult our guides in the best cameras for astrophotography Y best lenses for astrophotography To get started.
Editor’s note: If you manage to take a photo of asteroid 2023 BU and want to share it with Space.com readers, please send your photos, comments, and your name and location to email@example.com.
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