Home/ News / World/  'Enough to wipe a city', catastrophic asteroid set to narrowly pass by Earth

An asteroid with enough size to destroy a city will pass through the space between the Earth and the moon's orbit on Saturday.

An asteroid will pass between the Earth and the moon's orbit, coming within approximately 100,000 miles (168,000 kilometers) of our planet on Saturday.

Despite its size, which is significant enough to destroy an entire city if it were to hit, the asteroid poses no threat to Earth.

Astronomers noted that it will allow them to study the asteroid up close and observe its characteristics. Due to its proximity, the asteroid will be visible through binoculars and small telescopes.

NASA said it’s rare for one so big to come so close — about once a decade. Scientists estimate its size somewhere between 130 feet and 300 feet (40 meters and 90 meters).

The asteroid, named 2023 DZ2, was found just a month ago and is set to have a close encounter with the moon on Saturday, passing within a distance of 320,000 miles (515,000 kilometers). Later that day, the asteroid will travel at a rapid speed of around 17,500 mph (28,000 kph) as it zooms past the Indian Ocean.

“There is no chance of this ‘city killer’ striking Earth, but its close approach offers a great opportunity for observations," the European Space Agency’s planetary defense chief Richard Moissl said in a statement.

According to NASA, the International Asteroid Warning Network views the upcoming close encounter of the asteroid as an opportunity for practising planetary defense in case of a potentially dangerous asteroid heading towards Earth in the future.

Despite initial concerns that the asteroid may hit Earth during its next visit in 2026, further analysis by scientists has ruled out that possibility, and it will be passing by harmlessly.

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Updated: 24 Mar 2023, 05:15 PM IST
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