NASA predicts that truck-sized asteroid 2023 BU, discovered Jan. 21, will make one of the closest approaches ever recorded to a near-Earth object.
Asteroid At 00:27 UTC on January 27, it will fly over the southern tip of South America at a distance of 3,600 km. According to NASA calculations, above the surface of the planet and in the orbit of geosynchronous satellites is good.
There is no danger of an asteroid hitting Earth. But even if it does, this small asteroid – between 3.5 and 8.5 meters in diameter – will turn into a fireball and disintegrate harmlessly in the atmosphere, although some of the larger debris will fall as smaller meteors.
Amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov, discoverer of the 2I/Borisov interstellar comet, spotted the asteroid on Saturday, January 21, from his MARGO observatory in Nauchnyi, Crimea.
Additional observations were reported to the Minor Planet Center (MPC) – the international clearinghouse for position measurements of small celestial bodies – and the data was automatically published on the Near-Earth Object Confirmation page. Once enough observations have been collected, the MPC announces the finding. Over three days, dozens of observations were made by various observatories around the world, which helped astronomers better determine the orbit of 2023 BU.
NASA’s Scout Impact Risk Assessment System, maintained by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), analyzed data from MBC’s confirmation side and quickly predicted a nearby impact. CNEOS calculates all known orbits of near-Earth asteroids to assess potential impact hazards in support of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO).
“Scout quickly ruled out an impact by 2023 BU, but despite few observations, it was able to predict that the asteroid would come very close to Earth,” said JPL navigation engineer David Farnocchia, who developed the scout. “In fact, this is one of the closest approaches of a near-Earth object ever recorded.”