Asteroid 2023 BU will be making a close call with Earth this week, travelling at a staggering 33,300mph and skimming by us at just 6,500miles from the center of the Earth. That equates to roughly 2,500 miles above the surface of our planet, which may sound like quite the distance but is actually tiny in astronomical terms. The space rock was only discovered on Saturday (January 21) and is set to pass us by at 12.30am on Friday morning (January 27).
As it stands, data collected by NASA’s Centre for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) suggest that 2023 BU measures between 12.4 ft and 27.8 ft across, making it one of 35,000 past and future Earth approaches over the next 300 years. Fortunately for us, asteroids smaller than 82 ft (25m) across usually burn up in the atmosphere when entering our planet’s atmosphere, leaving little or no damage on the ground. Nevertheless, space geeks have ruled out any sort of collision with this particular asteroid as it passes us by this week.
Although we won’t be receiving any direct impacts from 2023 BU’s near miss, it will certainly be dipping into our atmosphere – specifically the exosphere – where temperatures can dip down to as low as minus 250 degrees Celsius and extend some 6,000miles away from our planet’s surface.
The good news is that all of this will be available to watch live online thanks to robotic telescopes operated by the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Ceccano, Italy through their Virtual Telescope Project (VTP). The live stream is set to start Thursday night (January 26) at 7:15pm so you’ll have plenty of time to catch a glimpse of this amazing celestial event!
The odds of an asteroid crashing into our planet are much less than they were in the past, especially now that we have such advanced technology that could destroy an asteroid if we were to detect a threat to our planet.