Asteroid Flies 2,200 Miles Over Tip of South America But Spares Planet Earth - NASA
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - An asteroid the size of a truck is about to pass 2,200 miles above the surface of the Earth over the southern tip of South America without posing a threat to the planet, NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced.
"On Thursday, a small near-Earth asteroid will have a very close encounter with our planet," the release stated.
"Designated 2023 BU, the asteroid will zoom over the southern tip of South America at about 7:27 pm. EST only 2,200 miles [3,600 kilometers] above the planet’s surface and well within the orbit of geosynchronous satellites."
Geosynchronous satellites orbit in fixed points 22,000 miles [36,000 kilometers] above the surface of the Earth, the release said.
Asteroid 2023 BU is about the size of a box truck and is predicted to make one of the closest approaches by a near-Earth object ever recorded, the release said.
"There is no risk of the asteroid impacting Earth. But even if it did, this small asteroid – estimated to be 11.5 to 28 feet (3.5 to 8.5 meters) across - would turn into a fireball and largely disintegrate harmlessly in the atmosphere, with some of the bigger debris potentially falling as small meteorites," the release added.
The asteroid was discovered by amateur astronomer Gennadiy Borisov from his MARGO observatory in Nauchnyi, Crimea, on January 21, according to the release.