You Might Be Able to Glimpse This Asteroid

It's zipping by us, and even amateurs might spot 2023 DZ2 Friday night or Saturday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 24, 2023 12:05 PM CDT
You Might Be Able to Glimpse This Asteroid
This photo provided by Gianluca Masi shows asteroid 2023 DZ2, indicated by arrow at center, about 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) away from the Earth on March 22, 2023.   (Gianluca Masi/Virtual Telescope Project via AP)

An asteroid big enough to wipe out a city will zip between Earth and the moon's orbit on Saturday, reports the AP. The close encounter will offer astronomers the chance to study a space rock from just over 100,000 miles away—that’s less than half the distance from here to the moon, making it visible through binoculars and small telescopes.

  • When: The closest approach will be at 3:51pm Eastern Saturday, per USA Today, though EarthSky notes that the best time to catch a glimpse might be early Friday night.
  • Where: "From a Northern Hemisphere location, look above the southeastern horizon," EarthSky advises. "For all of us around the globe, the asteroid will be east of the constellations Orion, Canis Major and Canis Minor."
  • Live webcast: The Virtual Telescope Project will provide a live webcast of the close approach.

Discovered a month ago, 2023 DZ2 will pass within 320,000 miles of the moon on Saturday and, several hours later, buzz the Indian Ocean at about 17,500 mph. “There is no chance of this ‘city killer’ striking Earth, but its close approach offers a great opportunity for observations,” said Richard Moissl of European Space Agency. The asteroid won’t be back our way again until 2026. NASA said it’s rare for an asteroid so big to come so close—it happens about once a decade. Scientists estimate its size somewhere between 130 feet and 300 feet.
(More asteroid stories.)

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