Asteroids pass nearer than some satellites

You shouldn’t be concerned, but a large asteroid will fly by Earth in the next few hours.

The space rock, roughly the size of a bus, will pass over the southern tip of South America shortly after midnight GMT.

It’s a close shave with a closest estimate approach of 3,600km (2,200 miles).

It also shows that there are still large asteroids near Earth that have yet to be discovered.

This one was discovered only last weekend by amateur astronomer Gennadiy Borisov, who works out of Nauchnyi in Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.

Follow-up observations have refined our understanding of 2023 BU’s size and, more importantly, its orbit.

That is how astronomers can be so certain it will avoid the planet, despite passing within the arc covered by the world’s telecommunications satellites, which are 36,000km (22,000 miles) above us.

The lowest altitude is estimate at around 19.27 EST on Thursday and 00:27 GMT on Friday.

Even if 2023 BU was on a collision track, it would struggle to cause significant damage.

The boulder, which is believed to be 3.5m to 8.5m broad (11.5ft to 28ft), would most likely disintegrate high in the atmosphere. It would, however, create a beautiful fireball.

In comparison, the famed Chelyabinsk meteor, which entered Earth’s atmosphere over southern Russia in 2013, was about 20m (66ft) in diameter. It created a shockwave, shattering windows on the ground.

According to Nasa scientists, BU’s orbit around the Sun will be alter by its approach to Earth in 2023.

Our planet’s gravity will pull on it, causing it to change its path across space.

“Before colliding with Earth, the asteroid’s orbit around the Sun was very round, mimicking Earth’s orbit, and took 359 days to complete,” according to the agency in a statement.

“The asteroid’s orbit will be extend due to its encounter, putting it roughly midway between Earth’s and Mars’ orbits at its farthest point from the Sun. After that, the asteroid will complete one circle every 425 days.”

A significant effort is underway to locate the far larger asteroids that may do significant harm if they collide with Earth.

The monsters out there, such as the 12km-wide boulder that wiped out the dinosaurs, have most likely been discovered and pose no threat. However, when the size is reduce to 150m across, our collection has gaps.

According to statistics, just around 40% of these asteroids have been observe and examine to determine the level of threat they may pose.

If such objects collided with the ground, they would cause widespread devastation.