HomeOutdoorsViralAsteroid the Size of a Bus Headed Towards Earth’s Atmosphere Soon: NASA Report

Asteroid the Size of a Bus Headed Towards Earth’s Atmosphere Soon: NASA Report

by Emily Morgan
Asteroid Size Of Bus Earths Atmosphere Nasa Report
Photo by: Maciej Frolow

An asteroid the size of a regulation school bus headed in Earth’s direction was recently detected by NASA. According to reports from the space agency, the hurtling asteroid is known as Asteroid 2023 BU. It was found on January 21 by the agency’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS.)

However, NASA notes that it’s not the end of the world as we know it; instead, the giant space rock is set to fly past us around 12:30 a.m. on January 27.

According to reports, the asteroid will fly about 2,500 miles above our planet’s surface. As a result, officials at NASA are calling this space rock the fourth-nearest of previous and future asteroids to fly past Earth. In addition, that proximity to Earth is just under a three percent average distance between us and the moon. It will also come within an altitude of 2,178 miles above the Earth’s surface. For comparison purposes, most satellites orbit at an altitude of around 22,200 miles.

However, even if this asteroid decided to head straight for us, it wouldn’t be a cause for concern. The asteroid measures between 12.4ft and 27.8ft— a size likely not to make much of a dent down on Earth. According to experts, any asteroids smaller than 82 ft would be more likely to burn and evaporate in Earth’s atmosphere.

Skywatchers can watch live stream of asteroid event from their couches

Although experts believe the asteroid will fly by Earth’s atmosphere, online skywatchers can still see an interstellar show, thanks to the Virtual Telescope Project. The project is a set of robotic telescopes in Ceccano, Italy. Users can access it online to have their very own astronomical show from their couch.

VTP’s live stream of the asteroid is set for January 26 at 7:15 p.m. Astronomer Gianluca Masi will host a free live stream of its movement on the project’s website or YouTube channel.

“Asteroid 2023 BU will have an extremely close, but safe, encounter with us, coming [within] less than 10,000 km from the Earth’s center, about 25% of the geostationary satellites’ distance,” wrote Masi on the project’s website.

The flying space rock is currently in the Ursa Major constellation. Because of its size, the space rock is relatively dim at a magnitude of 19.15. However, people may be able to see it through a telescope operated by a seasoned skywatcher with a high-powered telescope.

According to the Center for Near Earth Object Studies, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, 2023 BU is an Apollo-type asteroid. This means its orbit passes Earth but spends most of its life outside Earth’s path.