Asteroid 2023 BU skimmed over Earth today (January 26, 2023) just 2,200 miles over the surface marking the lowest approach of a Near Earth Asteroid (NEO) ever recorded. This elevation is well below Geostationary satellites that orbit Earth at 22,236 miles and giving a close haircut to Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites orbiting at 342 miles.
You might think that NASA, with all its telescopes searching the depths of space, would have spotted 2023 BU well in advance of its near-Earth approach, but the truth might surprise, or frighten you.
NASA did not spot 2023 BU. It was discovered by Genadiy Borisov, an amateur astronomer, just last weekend! Once Mr. Borisov notified NASA of his find, JPL’s SCOUT system started tracking the object and luckily learned that this rock from space wouldn’t impact Earth.
2023 BU is estimated only about twenty-five feet in diameter, so if the pesky rock did enter Earth’s atmosphere, it would have burned up on entry, most likely.
An amateur spotted 2023 BU just a few days before a near impact. What if we don’t spot the next, larger asteroid that does strike Earth? With only a few days warning, there is nothing we could do, except to pray. Asteroids have impacted Earth before. It’s only a matter of time before the next rock from space ruins our day.
Source: Asteroid set to make ‘extraordinarily close’ approach to Earth tonight. Here’s how to watch. | Live Science