Watching asteroids: near miss (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, March 17, 2023, 17:23 (11 days ago) @ David Turell

Only 149,000 miles away:

"Depending on your location, the newly found asteroid 2023 EY will pass by our planet late Thursday night or Friday morning at a distance of just 240,000 kilometers (149,000 miles) – a little less than two-thirds the distance of the Moon.

"That may sound uncomfortably close, but space is big. A speck like 2023 EY poses no threat to any of us.

"At just 16 meters (52 feet) in diameter, it's roughly the same size as the Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over Siberia in 2013 and caused a range of injuries with its shock wave. Fortunately 2023 EY won't even enter our atmosphere.


"What's particularly cool is that this asteroid was only first spotted on Monday, March 13.

"It was picked up by a telescope at the Sutherland Observing Station in South Africa – which is one of four telescopes that make up the ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) network, established by the University of Hawaii and funded by NASA to provide an asteroid impact early warning system.

"With two telescopes in Hawaii, one in Chile, and one in South Africa, the goal of ATLAS is to be able to get at least a few days of notice before an asteroid gets uncomfortably close to Earth.

"And now we know that we can successfully throw an asteroid off its course using rockets, thanks to the recent DART mission, this advanced warning will be crucial.

"2023 EY is classified as an Apollo NEO, or near-Earth object. This is the biggest group of NEOs we currently know about, with 17,540 Apollo asteroids as of February 2023."

Comment: with all these telescopes on watch we have a marked degree of safety.

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