A truck-sized asteroid just whipped past Earth

Published 2023-01-27 11:51Updated 2023-01-27 12:51

Scientists were monitoring and knew it wasn't dangerous

It’s a bird!

It’s a plane!

It’s a rock?

On Jan. 26, an asteroid, which is a chunk of rock travelling through space, nearly got up close and personal with Earth as it passed our planet.

At its closest, it flew 3,600 kilometres above the southern tip of South America.

This asteroid’s journey was one of the closest approaches to Earth that has ever been recorded.

Still, scientists at NASA knew it wouldn't be dangerous.

How the asteroid was found

An amateur astronomer in Crimea discovered the asteroid on Jan. 21.

It is named 2023 BU.

The asteroid is believed to be 3.5 to 8.5 metres across, or about the size of a delivery truck.

When a new space object is discovered close to Earth, NASA uses a system called Scout to check and make sure it isn’t at risk of hitting the planet.

They quickly determined that 2023 BU would not hit Earth, but would come very close to us.

Being in such close contact with our planet changed the circular path it was travelling on, which is called an orbit.

Everything in space orbits something, like how the moon orbits the Earth, and the Earth orbits the sun.

Even if the asteroid did come pretty close, NASA said it likely wouldn’t be a risk to Earth because it would burn up in our planet’s atmosphere.

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With files from The Associated Press
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/The Associated Press

CORRECTION: This article was updated Jan. 30, 2023 to correct the description of the NASA diagram in the lead image.

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