(ReliableNews.org) – The idea of an asteroid hitting Earth has been the subject of numerous movies over the years. Last year, NASA tested the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) to see if it would deflect a flying space rock. Recently, one of them got really close to the planet.
On Saturday, March 25, an asteroid named 2023 DZ2 passed between Earth and the Moon. The massive rock was the size of an airplane and was dubbed a “city killer.” The asteroid passed over 100,000 miles from Earth, making it completely harmless.
According to a tweet by NASA Asteroid Watch, it’s common for planetoids to approach the Earth. However, the size of this one was unique because it was so large, making it a once-in-a-decade event. Its size is estimated to be between 130 and 300 feet.
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.
— NASA Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) March 21, 2023
In a follow-up tweet, the agency said astronomers who work for the International Asteroid Warning Network, established in 2014, used the event to learn as much as they could about the space rock. Asteroid Watch said it was “good practice” for planetary defense. The Virtual Telescope Project aired it live, but captured a still of the object beforehand.
In February, astronomers in Spain’s Canary Islands at the La Palma Observatory discovered the asteroid. According to Earth Sky, 2023 DZ2 is part of the Apollo family of asteroids. These Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) are named after the 1862 Apollo.
Apollo-type asteroid #2023DZ2. Diameter 39-87m. First observed at La Palma: 27th Feb' Close approach today. Distance 175,000 km from Earth. #SpotTheAsteroid #IAWN #QHY42Pro @QHYCCD @RoyalAstroSoc @skyatnightmag @SPACEdotcom @esaoperations @AsteroidWatch pic.twitter.com/O95YXuxFKr
— Northolt Branch Obs (@NBObservatories) March 25, 2023
Richard Moissl, the planetary defense chief at the European Space Agency, told BBC there was “no chance” of the asteroid “striking Earth” but confirmed it presented a “great opportunity for observations.”
Scientists believe 2023 DZ2 will return to Earth’s orbit in 2026, but they don’t believe it will pose a threat the next time it comes around, either. The European Space Agency has a running list of objects that are a threat to Earth. The list consists of 1,462 items.
Copyright 2023, ReliableNews.org