"Near Miss": Asteroid To Make One Of 'Closest Ever' Approaches To Earth On Thursday

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Jan 27, 2023 - 12:10 AM

An asteroid about the size of a big truck will buzz the earth on Thursday - coming within 2,200 miles of the planet's surface in one of the closest passes ever recorded, according to scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The estimated trajectory of asteroid 2023 BU, in red, and the orbit of geosynchronous satellites, in green. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)

The asteroid, 2023 BU, will travel over the Pacific Ocean west of southern Chile this afternoon according to JPL's Davide Farnocchia, a navigation engineer.

Not to worry (of course they'd say that) - but the near-Earth object poses no danger, according to Farnocchia.

"It’s not going to break up," he said. "It’s going to zoom past Earth, say hello and move on."

And even if it did enter Earth's atmosphere, it would have burned upon entry and turned into a fireball.

"It’s not going to get close enough for that," the scientist continued, adding that the flyby will be the fourth-closest approach ever recorded - with the first two in 2020 and 2021, the WSJ reports.

2023 BU was first spotted by amateur astronomer Gennadiy Borisov, from his observatory in Nauchnyi, Crimea, on Jan. 21. More observations were reported to the Minor Planet Center, a clearinghouse for the position measurement of small celestial bodies. And after the discovery was announced, observatories around the globe added to the findings, helping astronomers refine 2023 BU’s orbit, according to NASA.

NASA’s impact hazard assessment system, which is based in Southern California and called Scout, analyzed the data and quickly predicted the near miss. -WSJ

The Scout impact detection system was developed by Farnocchia, who says he received an alert from the system while having dinner.

"When you see that alert, you just want to make sure that it’s real," he said. "So usually I just go and see the data and confirm it’s real and that everything is checked out."

"Some of them actually can come really close to the Earth, and some of them might never come close to the Earth. That is just the first cutoff to split objects that could be potentially interesting and the ones that certainly are not."