Bus-Sized Asteroid Will Pass Closer Than the Moon This Week

Wednesday, 28 February 2018 - 8:42PM
Space
Wednesday, 28 February 2018 - 8:42PM
Bus-Sized Asteroid Will Pass Closer Than the Moon This Week
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NASA/JPL-Caltech
This coming Friday, March 2, an near-Earth asteroid will be sweeping within 70,000 miles (113,000 kilometers) of our planet's surface.

While there's no danger of any collision, asteroid 2018 DV1 will be coming closer to Earth than the Moon, which is nearly always enough to grab the attention of asteroid-hunters. And on top of that, 2018 DV1 is about 23 feet (7 meters) wide, which NASA's official Asteroid Watch declared was about the size of a bus.



And it should make for an impressive sight if you have the necessary tools to see it. Assuming that you don't have access to powerful telescopes, you can watch a live stream of the asteroid passing through the night sky from the Virtual Telescope Project and Tenegra Observatories in Arizona, who will be showing the video on their website.

According to the Minor Planet Center, 2018 DV1 was first spotted by the Mount Lemmon Observatory also in Arizona, and a similarly sized asteroid will also be passing Earth on the same night, although that one (called the oh-so-different "2018 DU1") will be twice the distance away.




Asteroids like these aren't necessarily uncommon, but we are getting much better at detecting them as the fly past us. Which leads to more harmless discoveries like the skull-shaped asteroid TB145 which will pass by the Earth this fall, as well as more "potentially hazardous" asteroids that are a little more common than we realized.

However, "potentially hazardous" is just NASA's way of saying they're big and not far away, which is a far cry from saying there's any real risk of a collision. For the most part, it just means we'll have some more exciting things to watch in the sky on some nights.
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