A rare and spectacular space event is about to happen on Saturday night: an asteroid named 2023 DZ2, nicknamed “City Killer” because of its size, will graze the Earth at a distance of 168,300 km, less than half the distance between the Earth and the Moon, creating a beautiful spectacle in the sky. The European Space Agency estimates its diameter to be between 40 and 100 meters. Here is what you need to know about this celestial encounter.
A “city-destroying” asteroid grazing the Earth
Discovered on February 27, 2023, this asteroid could cause an impact strong enough to destroy an entire city because of its size. That's why the European Space Agency is calling it the “City Killer”. However, ESA confirmed that the asteroid poses no danger to Earth, as it will pass within 168,300 km of our planet. It moves at a speed of 37 km / s.
"There is no chance of this "city killer" striking Earth, but its #CloseApproach offers a great opportunity for observations!"
— ESA Operations (@esaoperations) March 21, 2023
A celestial spectacle not to be missed
This rare event is a boon for scientists who will have the opportunity to observe the asteroid closely. Professional astronomers will be able to study the space object more closely, while amateurs will be able to observe it with simple binoculars. This observation is a way for International Asteroid Warning Network astronomers to learn more about Asteroid 2023 DZ2 in case of a future threat. Although close approaches are common, an approach by an asteroid of this size occurs only about once a decade, providing a unique opportunity for science.
A newly discovered #asteroid named 2023 DZ2 will safely pass by Earth on Saturday at 100K+ miles away. ????
While close approaches are a regular occurrence, one by an asteroid of this size (140-310 ft) happens only about once per decade, providing a unique opportunity for science.
An interest for NASA
The observation of asteroid 2023 DZ2 on Saturday night is a continuation of last November's Dart mission, the first full-scale test to deflect an asteroid. NASA sent a probe to the asteroid Dimorphos, located 11 million kilometers from Earth. This mission allowed to collect useful data in case of a future threat from the universe. Thus, NASA is also interested in asteroid 2023 DZ2 and its observation will provide valuable information to better understand this space object.
In sum, asteroid 2023 DZ2 is a rare celestial object that promises a beautiful show in the sky on Saturday night, and an opportunity for scientists to study this asteroid to better understand the universe. However, the celestial encounter poses no danger to Earth.
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