Asteroid 2023 BU passed Earth on Thursday night (January 26) to the delight of amateur astronomers around the world. For skywatchers who don’t have access to a telescope or those whose view is hampered by bad weather, luckily, the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy was there to observe the event and broadcast everything for free.
The Virtual Telescope is an automated telescope operated by Italian amateur astronomer Gianluca Massi near Rome, Italy. as 2023 BU drive a landthe telescope was able to track the rocks through a gap in the clouds when it was about 13,670 miles (22,000 kilometers) from its closest point to Earth’s surface (about the height of GPS Navigation Satellite Constellation) and 22,990 miles (37,000 km) from the virtual telescope.
However, Massey, who shared an hour-long webcast of the observations on the Virtual Telescope website, wasn’t able to catch the closest approach as the clouds began. However, the Virtual Telescope Project was able to get a closer look at the car-sized rocks, seen in the time-lapse above.
Discovered less than a week ago on Saturday (January 21), the rock passed over the southern tip of South America at 7:27 PM EST on Thursday, January 26 (0027 GMT on January 27), at a distance of only . 2,240 miles (3,600 km) at its closest point to Earth’s surface.
Only 11.5 to 28 feet (3.5 to 8.5 meters) across, 2023 BU poses no danger to the planet. If the trajectories of the two bodies intersected, the asteroid would have mostly burned up in the atmosphere with small parts likely to have fallen to Earth. meteorites.
In the videos and photos shared by Massey, the asteroid is seen as a small, bright blob in the center of the frame, while the longer, brighter streaks are the surrounding stars. In reality, of course, it was the asteroid that was moving with respect to Earth, as it was traveling at 21,000 miles per hour (33,800 km/h) with respect to Earth. As the computerized Massey Telescope tracked its position, the rocks appeared stationary in the images while the stars appeared as moving streaks.
The gravitational kick that 2023 BU received as it encountered Earth would change the shape of its orbit the sun. Previously, the space rock would follow a more or less circular orbit, completing one revolution around the sun in 359 days. From now on, BU 2023 will travel through the inner solar system on a more elliptical path, venturing halfway toward Mars at the farthest point in its orbit. This change will add 66 days to BU 2023’s orbital period.
The asteroid was discovered by the famous astronomer and astrophotographer Gennady Borisov from Crimea, the same man who in 2018 found the first interstellar comet, which now bears his name, Borisov.
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