2023 BU and Earth to Have Closest Encounter YetAsteroid 2023 BU and Earth to Have Closest Encounter in Recorded History

An asteroid the size of a delivery truck is set to pass Earth in one of the closest such encounters ever recorded, coming within a tenth of the distance of most communication satellites’ orbit. According to Nasa, the newly-discovered asteroid will pass 2,200 miles (3,600km) above the southern tip of South America at 7.27pm US eastern time on Thursday (12.27am GMT on Friday). The space agency insists there is no chance of it hitting Earth, and even if it were to come much closer, most of it would burn up in the atmosphere, with bigger pieces potentially falling as meteorites. Related: Space dust from 4.2bn-year-old asteroid could hold key to preventing cataclysmic collisions with Earth. Davide Farnocchia, an engineer at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, revealed that their impact hazard assessment system, Scout, quickly ruled out a strike. “But despite the very few observations, it was nonetheless able to predict that the asteroid would make an extraordinarily close approach with Earth. In fact, this is one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded,” he said. Discovered on Saturday, 2023 BU is believed to be between 11ft (3.5m) and 28ft (8.5m) across, and was first spotted by the same amateur astronomer in Crimea, Gennady Borisov, who discovered an interstellar comet in 2019. Soon after, dozens of observations were made by astronomers all over the world, allowing them to refine the asteroid’s path. Earth’s gravity will alter its course drastically as it passes, with the asteroid moving into an oval orbit lasting 425 days, rather than circling the sun every 359 days, according to Nasa. With Associated Press

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