This evening, if scientists’ calculations are correct, “an asteroid will pass just under 10,000 km from the center of our planet, Then 3,500 km from the surface terrestrial”.
Announced by an astrophysicist Gianluca Massi, Head of the Virtual Telescope Project.
The object, which has been renamed “2023 BU”, was discovered just five days before its close encounter with Earth, expected today around 10.17 pm Italian time (the time may vary by about two hours more or less).
This is the third asteroid since the beginning of the year to fly past our planet at a close distance, less than that between Earth and the Moon, and it is the fourth closest planet on record.
The asteroid “2023 BU” was seen by the engineer and amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov On January 21, at the Margo Observatory in Naushnig, Crimea. Borisov is also famous for discovering the first known interstellar comet, “2I/Borisov,” in 2019.
The asteroid was immediately studied by many astronomical observatories from around the world, such as the French Observatory in Saint-Pardon-de-Conques, the English Observatory in Great Shefford (both private) and the US National Observatory in Kitt Peak.
The estimated diameter of the asteroid is from 3.7 to 8.2 meters, and it belongs to the so-called Apollo asteroid group, which includes celestial bodies that are potentially dangerous to Earth due to the possibility of a catastrophic impact: for example, the Chelyabinsk meteorite, which exploded over the city of the same name in 2013, and it was an Apollo asteroid. Currently, the asteroid is traveling at about 9.3 kilometers per second.
The rendezvous with Earth will be followed by the Virtual Telescope Project, which has organized a live webcast on January 26, starting at 8.15pm Italian time.
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