Asteroid Discovered Just Days Ago Will Make Close Pass of Earth Thursday, NASA Says – NBC Chicago

NASA officials say that an asteroid will pass just over 2,000 miles above Earth’s surface on Thursday, and that the celestial body was only discovered last weekend.

According to a press release from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the near-Earth asteroid, named Asteroid 2023 BU, will pass over the tip of South America just before 6:30 p.m. Central time on Thursday evening, approximately 2,200 miles above the Earth’s surface.

NASA compared the size of the asteroid to a box truck, approximately 11.5-to-28 feet wide.

For context, geosynchronous satellites orbit the Earth at approximately 20,000 miles above the surface.

Officials say that the asteroid was first discovered by an amateur astronomer in Crimea on Saturday. Observations were validated by other astronomers, who were able to calculate the asteroid’s side and orbit.

NASA’s Scout impact system calculated that the asteroid would pass close to the Earth, but would not make impact.

“This is one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded,” JPL engineer Davide Farnocchia said in a statement.

For those curious, the asteroid will not impact the Earth, but even if it were to enter the planet’s atmosphere, it would burn up and smaller pieces would harmlessly fall as small meteorites.

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