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The newly discovered asteroid has come closer to Earth than satellites

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from: Tanya Banner


A small asteroid is very close to Earth. (iconic image) © IMAGO / Design Pics

Asteroid 2023 BU has just been discovered and is already hurtling close to Earth. It has come closer to the surface than many satellites.

Update from Thursday, January 26, 2023, 4:57 PM: Tonight (January 26 at 10:17 p.m.), newly discovered asteroid 2023 BU will fly by Earth. As stated by NASA, at a distance of just under 3,600 kilometers, it will be one of the closest approaches to Earth ever recorded.

It remains that the asteroid will not hit Earth, although it will be inside the ring of geostationary satellites. But even if 2023 BU hits Earth: an estimated size of 3.5 to 8.5 meters, the asteroid will become a fireball when it enters Earth’s atmosphere and burns up harmlessly in Earth’s atmosphere. According to NASA, some large pieces of debris could fall to Earth – but they won’t do any harm there.

Newly discovered asteroid 2023 BU is very close to Earth

First report from Wednesday, January 25, 2023: FRANKFURT – Almost every day, asteroids are discovered that fly by Earth. “Nearby” usually means a distance of several hundred thousand kilometers or more. But in the case of the recently discovered asteroid 2023 BU, things are different. It is very close to Earth – much closer than the geostationary satellites orbiting the blue planet at a distance of approximately 36,000 km.

2023 BU
Apollo asteroid
January 21, 2023
Gennady Borisov
3.8 to 8.5 meters
3506 kilometers on January 26, 2023 at 10:17 pm

The asteroid has a size of 3.8 to 8.5 meters and will approach the Earth’s surface on Thursday (January 26 at 10:17 pm) to a distance of 3,506 kilometers. For comparison: this is less than three percent less than the average distance between the Earth and the Moon (384,400 km).

Asteroid 2023 BU is closer to Earth than some satellites

Asteroid 2023 BU was discovered just a few days before its closest approach to Earth. On January 21, 2023, it was seen for the first time by amateur Russian astronomer Gennady Borisov at the Margo Observatory in Crimea. Borisov is no stranger to the astronomy scene: he was the one to spot the first interstellar comet 2I/Borisov in December 2018. He is also one of the first observers of a possible mini-moon on Earth.

There is no danger to Earth: the asteroid 2023 BU is very small

Even if asteroid 2023 BU comes close to Earth, there is no danger. “The near-Earth asteroid 2023 BU will have a very close but certain encounter with us,” Italian astronomer Gianluca Massi wrote on the Virtual Telescope Project website. The project will broadcast a live broadcast of the asteroid as it approaches Earth.

The asteroid cannot be seen with the naked eye due to its small size in the sky – unlike a fireball over Canada, which poses a puzzle to researchers. Only large telescopes can spot the faint little asteroid in the sky.

Asteroid 2023 BU is not dangerous – it could break apart

Experts have not classified asteroid 2023 BU as “potentially dangerous”. This is mainly due to their size: they are small and must disintegrate when they enter Earth’s atmosphere. Hypothetically, the individual parts should burn up.

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It takes BU 2023 425 days to orbit the sun once. It won’t come close to Earth again until December 27, 2029 – but then it will be nearly nine million kilometers from our planet. (tab)

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