Watch live as asteroid passes Earth on ‘very close’ approach

A newly discovered asteroid will come “very close” to Earth on Friday — and you can watch the space rock zoom through space live online.

The asteroid, known as 2023 EY, will reach a minimum distance to our planet of about 149,000 miles on March 17, according to figures from NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

Although this may seem far away, in astronomical terms this is considered a close encounter. To put the flyby into context, the space rock will zoom past us at less than two-thirds of the average distance between Earth and the moon.

The asteroid is estimated to measure about 56 feet across, NASA figures show, making it comparable in size to a house.

Despite the fact that it will fly by Earth on Friday, EY was only discovered on March 13 – just four days before its encounter with our planet. The asteroid was discovered by a telescope at the Sutherland Observing Station in South Africa.

File photo: Artist’s illustration of an asteroid flying past Earth. A newly discovered asteroid will come “very close” to Earth on Friday. iStock

The asteroid is one of more than a dozen that have approached Earth within lunar distance — an average of 238,855 miles away — this year. All of these space rocks, including 2023 EY, have been small, harmless asteroids.

The trajectory of 2023 EY has been precisely calculated, so there is no chance that the object will collide with our planet. But if an asteroid of this size was on a collision course with Earth, there would be little to worry about.

According to NASA, space rocks measuring less than 25 meters across (about 82 feet) would most likely burn up if they entered Earth’s true atmosphere, causing little or no damage to the ground.

By the time it approaches, 2023 EY will be traveling at approximately 18,100 miles per hour. That’s about nine times as fast as a rifle bullet.

The Virtual Telescope Project (VTP) will provide a live stream that will allow viewers to see the asteroid as it zooms past Earth. The project’s director, Gianluca Masi, described the approach as “very close” in an email Newsweek.

VTP is a service provided by the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Ceccano, Italy, which operates and provides access to remotely operated robotic telescopes.

The live stream starts at 12:00 Universal Coordinated Time on March 17 or 8:00 PM Eastern Time on March 16.

VTP also hosted a live stream of another small asteroid that came even closer in January this year, and Masi managed to capture some “extraordinary” images.

This space rock, known as 2023 BU, flew past us at an altitude of only about 2,500 miles above Earth.

This flyby was the fourth closest of more than 35,000 past and future Earth approaches in the CNEOS database, which contains data covering the 300 years from 1900 to 2200. The approach was less than 3 percent of the average distance between the Earth and the moon.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: