An asteroid discovered a few days ago is one of the closest approaches to Earth

(CNN) — A truck-sized asteroid is one of the closest approaches to Earth ever recorded.

The smallest near-Earth asteroid, 2023 BU, flew past the southern tip of South America Thursday at 7:27 PM ET, 3,540 kilometers above Earth’s surface. This distance is within the orbits of Earth’s satellites.

According to NASA, there is no risk of an asteroid hitting Earth.

If the space rock, which is estimated to be between 3.5 and 8.5 meters in diameter, was headed for Earth, it would have disintegrated into a fireball upon entering the atmosphere. According to the space agency, this debris will fall to the ground in the form of small meteorites.

A NASA graphic shows the orbit of asteroid 2023 BU as it approaches Earth in red. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

Amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov spotted the asteroid Saturday from the Marko Observatory in Nouchny, Crimea. Borisov previously discovered the interstellar comet 2I/Borisov in 2019.

The Minor Planet Center, which monitors the positions of minor planets, comets and space rocks, also received recent reports of asteroid 2023 BU. Once sufficient observations have been recorded, the center announced the discovery Asteroid. Under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union, the organization is responsible for the identification, designation and orbital data of such celestial objects.

Observatories around the world made new observations after Sunday’s announcement of the discovery, allowing them to fine-tune the orbit of 2023 BU.

NASA’s Scout Impact Risk Assessment System for Near-Earth Object Studies analyzed data from the Minor Planet Center and predicted the asteroid would not hit Earth.

The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, located at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, calculates the trajectory of all near-Earth asteroids to estimate their potential impact.

“Scout quickly ruled out an impact by 2023 BU, but despite few observations, it was able to predict that the asteroid would come unusually close to Earth,” JPL navigation engineer David Farnocchia, who developed the scout, said in a statement. . “In fact, this is one of the closest approximations of a near-Earth object ever recorded.”

Earth’s gravity alters the path of meteors, but 2023 BU came so close to our planet that its orbit around the Sun changed after the encounter.

Before approaching Jupiter, the asteroid had a circular orbit that took about 359 days to complete around the Sun. Later, scientists estimate that the asteroid’s orbit will lengthen, extending that single orbit around the Sun to 425 days.

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