This weekend a massive asteroid will be passing by Earth and the moon, but luckily, it will be missing both celestial bodies entirely.
The asteroid, named 2023 DZ2, was discovered months ago and is estimated to be somewhere between 130 and 300 feet in size. This close approach of the asteroid is an opportunity for astronomers to study the space rock from a distance of 100,000 miles away.
According to NASA, this type of close encounter with an asteroid of this size is rare, only happening once every decade.
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It will pass by the moon at 320,000 miles and then will buzz the Indian Ocean at 17,500 mph.
The European Space Agency’s planetary defence chief Richard Moissl said in a statement, “There is no chance of this ‘city killer’ striking Earth, but its close approach offers a great opportunity for observations.”
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The Virtual Telescope Project is providing a live webcast of the close approach, and astronomers with the International Asteroid Warning Network are seeing it as an opportunity to practice for planetary defence if a dangerous asteroid is headed our way in the future.
2023 DZ2 will not be back near Earth again until 2026, but scientists have already ruled out the possibility of it striking then.