Asteroid danger! Space rock passed Earth at a distance closer than satellites | Tech News

Asteroid danger! Space rock passed Earth at a distance closer than satellites

NASA revealed key details about Asteroid 2023 BU which made an extremely close approach to the planet today, January 27.

| Updated on: Jan 27 2023, 12:22 IST
Top astronomy photos of the week by NASA: Galaxy wars, Nebula, Moon to Sun, check them out
Asteroid 2023 BU
1/7 On January 14, NASA released an image of Perihelion Sun 2023, the image was taken after January 4, at the Earth's closest approach to the Sun. It was taken less than 24 hours after the earth's close approach. (Peter Ward (Barden Ridge Observatory))
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2/7 On January 15, another photograph was released of The Crab Nebula snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Crab Nebula, the result of a supernova seen in 1054 AD, is filled with mysterious filaments. ( NASA, ESA, Hubble, J. Hester, A. Loll (ASU))
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3/7 On January 16, NASA released an image of Moon Enhanced. The featured image is a composite of multiple images enhanced to bring up real surface features. The dark areas in the image, called maria, have fewer craters and were once seas of molten lava. Additionally, the image colours, although based on the moon's real composition, are changed, and exaggerated. (Darya Kawa Mirza)
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4/7 On January 17, the image of unexpected clouds toward the Andromeda Galaxy was released. (Yann Sainty & Marcel Drechsler)
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5/7 Image of MACS0647: Gravitational Lensing of the Early Universe Captured by James Webb Space Telescope was released by NASA on January 18. ( NASA, ESA, CSA, Dan Coe (STScI), Rebecca Larson (UT), Yu-Yang Hsiao (JHU); Processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI); Text: Michael Rutkowski (Minn. St. U. Mankato))
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6/7 On January 19, the image of The Seagull Nebula was released. The complex of gas and dust clouds with other stars of the Canis Majoris OB1 association spans over 200 light-years. (Carlos Taylor)
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7/7 Galaxy Wars: M81 and M82, this image was released on January 20. On the right, with grand spiral arms and bright yellow core is spiral galaxy M81.  (Andreas Aufschnaiter)
Asteroid 2023 BU
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The asteroid's orbit brought it extremely close to Earth, as per NASA. (NASA)

NASA has revealed key details about an asteroid which passed Earth at an alarmingly close distance. Although scientists had earlier determined that there was no risk of impact as of yet, the asteroid's close approach serves as a reminder of the potential danger that asteroids can pose to our planet. NASA, ESA and other space agencies continue to keep a watch on Near-Earth Objects which have the potential to collide with our planet. If these objects come within 8 million kilometers of Earth, they are classified as Potentially Hazardous Objects.

Asteroid 2023 BU

The asteroid has been named Asteroid 2023 BU by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. The same organization has also revealed its trajectory, distance of close approach and approximate speed. Asteroid 2023 BU passed Earth today, January 27, at a distance of just 9980 kilometers. That is even closer than some of the geosynchronous satellites which orbit the Earth!

In fact, NASA has revealed that this space rock travelled towards the planet at a fearsome speed of 33350 kilometers per hour. Skywatchers had a chance to catch a livestream of the close flyby. Europe's Virtual Telescope Project, based in Ceccano, Italy, livestreamed the event for astronomers and skywatchers to enjoy.

Efforts to study asteroids

In recent years, there has been a growing effort to track and study asteroids that could potentially threaten Earth. NASA's DART test was carried out as the first planetary defense test against potential asteroid impact. NASA studied the asteroids Didymos and Dimorphos in an effort to better understand the potential threat of asteroid impacts and to develop techniques for deflecting them. ESA's Hera spacecraft observed the result of the collision and reported the findings for further study.

Although no asteroid is expected to hit the planet and cause major catastrophe for at least next 100 years, these close approaches serve as a reminder of the importance of continuing to study and track asteroids in order to better understand and prepare for potential threats.

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First Published Date: 27 Jan, 11:19 IST