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An asteroid passing in front of the sun.
Photograph: Unsplash/Bryan Goff

JUST IN: A huge asteroid will whiz "extraordinarily close" to Earth this morning

You can watch the live stream of this close encounter at 11.27am AEDT

Leah Glynn
Written by
Leah Glynn

NASA has confirmed that, this morning, an asteroid the size of a delivery truck will whiz “extraordinarily close” to Earth!

The newly discovered Asteroid 2023 BU (it was first spotted on January 21 by an amateur astronomer in Crimea) is believed to be between 3.5 metres and 8.5 metres wide. It’s set to pass 3,600 kilometres above the southern tip of South America at around 11.27am AEDT – for those playing along at home, that’s ten times closer than most of the communication satellites currently in Earth’s orbit.

Thankfully, there’s no need to start making panicked goodbye calls to your loved ones. NASA has confirmed there is no chance of the asteroid hitting Earth, and if it was to come any closer it would likely burn up in the atmosphere and appear as falling meteorites.

The asteroid’s path will also be drastically altered by Earth’s gravity once it zooms past, and instead of circling the sun every 359 days, it will move into an oval orbit lasting 425 days.

While we won’t be able to witness this near-miss encounter with the naked eye (most asteroids aren’t bright enough to be seen without a powerful telescope), you can catch the live stream of this event, hosted by the Virtual Telescope Project.

ICYMI: a once-in-a-lifetime green comet is set to appear in Australian skies, and you will be able to see this one with the naked eye.

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