Asteroid to narrowly miss Earth in 'one of the closest passes ever' as it soars by even lower than satellite orbit

26 January 2023, 11:18

The asteroid will make a close pass near Earth
The asteroid will make a close pass near Earth. Picture: Alamy/Nasa

By Will Taylor

An asteroid is about to rush past Earth at a distance that's even closer than orbiting satellites in one of the nearest encounters ever.

Nicknamed 2023 BU, it will hurtle over the southernmost point of South America within a day.

It is expected to get as close as 2,200 miles – a close call by space's standards.

BU 2023 was only discovered last weekend, after an amateur astronomer in occupied Crimea came across it.

Experts then assessed its size – about 11.5ft – 28ft - and orbit to determine that it will miss our planet.

Read more: Man on Mars: NASA's plans for rocket to get humans to the red planet in 45 days - cutting down a seven month trip

But it will get much closer than some of the satellites orbiting Earth, with some circling around as far as 22,000 miles away. It is expected to get to its closest point at 12:27am GMT on Friday.

Davide Farnocchia, a navigation engineer at who developed Nasa's Scout hazard assessment system, said: "In fact, this is one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded."

Nasa's predicted trajectory for 2023 BU
Nasa's predicted trajectory for 2023 BU. Picture: Nasa

Nasa said its travel around the Sun has been disrupted by coming close to Earth.

It said in a statement: "Before encountering Earth, the asteroid's orbit around the Sun was roughly circular, approximating Earth's orbit, taking 359 days to complete its orbit about the Sun."

"After its encounter, the asteroid's orbit will be more elongated, moving it out to about halfway between Earth's and Mars' orbits at its farthest point from the Sun. The asteroid will then complete one orbit every 425 days."

The agency has previously tested whether it can push an asteroid off course as part of its "Dart" programme.

Read more: Zelenskyy taunts Putin as a 'nobody' as he's finally given Western tanks to fight back Russia and calls for fighter jets

Dart – or Double Asteroid Redirection Test – managed to push an asteroid called Dimorphos onto a new course after a vending machine-sized spacecraft crashed into it. Dimorphos was about the size of a football stadium.

The spacecraft was destroyed after colliding at 13,700 miles an hour.

Nasa described it as "watershed moment".

It is believed the biggest asteroids, measuring tens of thousands of metres in size – like the one that killed off most of the dinosaurs – have all been identified.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives for a visit to Great Wood Farm Early Years Centre, Grantham in East Midlands, June 17

Sunak close protection officer arrested over alleged election date bets

Allen Morgan, 73, said he was locked in a "passionate but forbidden" affair with his now wife Margaret, 75, when he hired a hitman to kill his then-partner Carol

Pensioner found guilty of conspiring to murder wife after hiring hitman amid 'passionate but forbidden' affair

Charlie Cosser

Teenager jailed for life for murdering 17-year-old Charlie Cosser on dance floor at party

Police were called to a property at Shorncliffe Road shortly after 3pm on Sunday

Baby girl mauled to death in dog attack at family home in Coventry

The tourists trying to stop Stonehenge being vandalised

Moment hero tourists grab Just Stop Oil spraying paint on Stonehenge, as activists 'damage rare lichen'

Anthony Hill disappeared on Monday morning

CCTV images show last sighting of Martin Lewis' MoneyExpertSaving colleague before going missing on 37th birthday

Pollen bomb explodes across UK as extreme hay fever sufferers warned to stay indoors with windows closed

Pollen bomb explodes across UK as extreme hay fever sufferers warned to stay indoors with windows closed

Charlie Cosser

Teenager who murdered Charlie Cosser on dance floor at party identified for the first time as judge lifts anonymity

Police rammed the cow

Cow rammed by police 'charged at people' before officers repeatedly hit it with car, watchdog says

TK Maxx and Homesense recalled the products found to contain insects

TK Max and Homesense recall tea products found to contain insects

Brits are set to enjoy some warmer weather soon

Exact date UK temperature 'to reach mid-30s' as British summer finally arrives with heatwave

Britney Spears has broken her silence on her ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake's shock arrest as she toasted 'the little things' in life

Britney Spears breaks silence on ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake's shock DWI arrest as she toasts 'little things' in life

Putin has visited North Korea

Putin and Kim share 'pent-up inmost thoughts' as Russian and North Korean leaders vow to forge 'multi-polar world'

Comedian Victoria Vera Blyth was killed by her husband David Thomas Blyth

Chilling words of TV star killed by British husband in final interview before tragic murder-suicide

Just Stop Oil protesters have targeted Stonehenge

Eco activists Just Stop Oil desecrate Stonehenge with orange spray in latest radical climate protest

Jay Slater's family have warned people about donating to fake pages

Sick fraudsters create fake GoFundMe page for Brit teenager missing in Tenerife