Eric Henrickson and Joselina Joyner
3 hours ago
A large asteroid will pass near Earth this week. (Getty Images)
Washington, D.C. (KXAN) – Scientists looking to observe asteroids will get a rare opportunity this weekend.
according to NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Officea newly discovered asteroid – which is known as a near-Earth object – will pass “safely” within just 100,000 miles on Saturday.
NASA defines near-Earth objects as “comets and asteroids that have been propelled by the gravity of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter Earth’s vicinity.”
The bureau says the asteroid named 2023 DZD 2ranging in diameter from 140 ft to 310 ft.
“While close approaches are usual, an asteroid of this size (140-310 feet) only occurs once per decade, providing a unique opportunity for science,” the office said.
The asteroid, which was first seen on January 14, will pass between Earth and the Moon’s orbit.
It is considered an Apollo-class asteroid, which means that it is less than 10 km in diameter. The orbits of these asteroids pass through Earth’s orbit but take longer to complete an orbit around the sun.
The asteroid will be closest to Earth at 2:51 PM CST on Saturday, March 25th. However, the best time to spot the asteroid will be early Friday evening looking to the southeast.
Because of the asteroid’s proximity to Earth, NASA classifies it as a potentially dangerous asteroiddefined as such “based on criteria that measure an asteroid’s ability to make a threatening approach to Earth,” the agency says.
NASA says the known current number of asteroids – a rocky, airless remnant left over from the early formation of our solar system – is 1,276,146.
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