The near-Earth asteroid 2023 EY will pass close to Earth on Thursday night (March 16), and you can watch it live thanks to a free telescope live stream.
Asteroid 2023 EY is about 16 meters across and is expected to pass within 239,800 kilometers of Earth’s surface on Thursday, or just about 62% of the mean lunar distance (opens in new tab), according to astronomer Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project. While this makes the encounter very close astronomically, there is no chance that 2023 EY will affect our planet based on its current trajectory.
The close encounter with Earth means larger ground-based telescopes should have no problem resolving the asteroid as it zooms past the planet. If you’d like to see the flyby, the Virtual Telescope Project is hosting a free livestream Thursday starting at 8 p.m. EST (0000 GMT on March 17) courtesy of the proJect’s website (opens in new tab) or Youtube Channel (opens in new tab).
Related: What are Asteroids?
Asteroid 2023 EY was first discovered just days ago, on March 13, by the University of Hawaii’s NASA-funded Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS). ATLAS is the first to scan the entire sky every 24 hours, helping astronomers better catalog and identify near-Earth objects such as asteroids.
The survey consists of four telescopes, each of which can examine an area of the sky 100 times larger than the full moon. according to NASA (opens in new tab). Two of the telescopes are in Hawaii, while the other two are in South Africa and Chile respectively.
Together, ATLAS has discovered more than 700 near-Earth asteroids to date, none of which have threatened the planet.
“We have yet to find a significant asteroid impact threat to Earth, but we continue to look for that sizable population that we know can still be found. Our goal is to find potential impacts years to decades in advance so that it can be deflected with a capability that uses technology we already have, like DART,” NASA’s Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer at the agency’s headquarters, said in a statement. (opens in new tab).
While 2023 BY was never predicted to hit Earth, another asteroid recently caused a stir when it was given a 1 in 600 chance of hitting our planet in 2046. That other space rock poses a risk longer and certainly will miss the planetannounced NASA.
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