Warning! Just 3500 km between this asteroid and Earth on January 26, says NASA | Tech News

Warning! Just 3500 km between this asteroid and Earth on January 26, says NASA

NASA has warned of an asteroid that is approaching Earth speedily and it will come extremely close to Earth! Check out the details here, as per the space agency.

| Updated on: Jan 25 2023, 18:44 IST
Are near-Earth objects DANGEROUS? Know what NASA says about scary comets, asteroids
1/5 Earth has objects near it, which sometimes get attracted towards the planet because of its gravitational pull. Of course, not every near-Earth object manages to reach the surface of the planet. The object needs to be large enough to survive its fiery journey through the atmosphere of the Earth. (Pixabay)
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2/5 What is a near-Earth object? Asteroids or comets that can pass within 30 million miles or 50 million kilometers of Earth's orbit are known as near-Earth objects or NEO. According to NASA, "A near-Earth object (NEO) is an asteroid or comet whose orbit brings it within a zone approximately 121 million miles (195 million kilometers) from the Sun, meaning that it can pass within about 30 million miles (50 million kilometers) of Earth’s orbit." (Pixabay)
3/5 NASA further informed that the vast majority of NEOs that enter Earth’s atmosphere disintegrate before reaching the surface (and more than 100 tons of dust particles disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere daily). Those NEOs that are larger than around 98 to 164 feet (30 to 50 meters) in size could cause widespread damage in and around their impact sites. Apart from NEOs, there is another category that NASA uses. These are the potentially hazardous objects (PHO). These are near-Earth objects whose orbit brings them within 4.7 million miles (7.5 million km) of Earth’s orbit, or is greater than 500 feet (140 meters) in size. (Pixabay)
4/5 The highest risk of impact for a known asteroid is a 1 in 714 chance of impact by an asteroid designated 2009 FD in 2185. This means that the possibility that it could impact then is less than 0.2 percent. NASA said, "One asteroid that NASA is studying up close, called Bennu, has a 1/2700 chance of impacting Earth between 2175 and 2195. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will complete a 2-year investigation of Bennu before plucking a sample of asteroid material off its surface and delivering it back to Earth." (Pixabay)
5/5 How can we prevent an asteroid from hitting Earth? Currently, an asteroid impact is the only natural disaster that NASA might be able to prevent. There are a few methods that NASA is studying to deflect an asteroid on a course to impact Earth. One of these techniques is called a gravity tractor—it involves a spacecraft that would rendezvous with an asteroid (but not land on its surface) and maintain its relative, optimal position to use the mutual gravity attraction between the satellite and the asteroid to slowly alter the course of the asteroid. (Pixabay)
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Asteroid 2023 BU will come extremely close to Earth tomorrow, NASA has revealed. (Bloomberg)

NASA defines Near-Earth Asteroids as celestial bodies that orbit the Sun and come close to the Earth's orbit. Some of these space rocks have the potential to be hazardous to our planet, as they can collide with the Earth and cause significant damage. Asteroids which pass the planet at a distance closer than 8 million kilometers are declared as Potentially Hazardous Objects. Though the distance might seem a lot, it is quite small when compared in astronomical distances. And now, a new asteroid is almost set to touch the Earth!

NASA, ESA and other space agencies keep an eye on any Potentially Hazardous Object which has the potential to impact with Earth's surface and cause damage. The agencies are on high alert as an asteroid has been observed heading to Earth tomorrow. What's particularly special about this asteroid is that it will pass at a distance of just 3500 kilometers above the planet's surface! This distance is closer than even the satellites which orbit the planet.

Details about the approaching asteroid

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 expected speed. Asteroid 2023 BU will pass Earth tomorrow, January 26, at a distance of just 3500 kilometers. In fact, it is already rushing towards the planet, travelling at a fearsome speed of 33350 kilometers per hour.

If you're curious about this asteroid, you can watch athe livestream of the close flyby. Europe's Virtual Telescope Project, based in Ceccano, Italy, will livestream the event for skywatchers to enjoy.

According to a report by spaceweather.com, this 5-meter-wide asteroid will pass Earth closely on January 26 at 21:17 UTC (16:17 EST). The report said, “There's no danger of a collision, but... Newly-discovered asteroid 2023 BU will make an extremely close approach to Earth this Thursday. On Jan 26th at 21:17 UTC (16:17 EST), the 5-meter-wide space rock will be just 3500 km above South America, well within our planet's belt of geosynchronous satellites.”

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First Published Date: 25 Jan, 18:43 IST