Skyscraper-Sized Asteroid Will Pass by Earth This Weekend at Half the Distance of the Moon

Asteroids of this size only approach the planet about once per decade, according to NASA Asteroid Watch


An asteroid the size of a skyscraper is about to make a close pass to Earth.

The 2023 DZ2 asteroid is expected to fly by the planet on Saturday, according to EarthSky and The Virtual Telescope Project.

The object will be about half the distance from the Earth to the moon when it zips by, the outlets report.

Astronomers at an observatory in La Palma on the Canary Islands in Spain discovered the asteroid in late February, according to The Minor Planet Center.

The asteroid is estimated to be about 210 feet in diameter, according to EarthSky.

Related:Spacecraft Succeeds in Knocking Asteroid From Its Orbit, NASA Says: 'Defender of the Planet'

It is moving at a "relatively slow" speed as it nears the planet, EarthSky reported. The Northern Hemisphere is expected to have its best view of the asteroid on Friday night.

Asteroids of this size only approach Earth about once per decade, NASA Asteroid Watch said on Twitter.

According to NASA, "a meteoroid the size of a football field" would cause "significant damage to the area" if it struck the planet. These only occur about every 2,000 years or so, the agency said.

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Any meteoroid between 25 meters and one kilometer (about a half mile) in size "would likely cause local damage to the impact area," NASA added. Smaller asteroids typically burn up in the atmosphere.

An asteroid larger than one kilometer, however, "could have worldwide effects."

The Virtual Telescope Project will livestream the 2023 DZ2 asteroid shortly after the close encounter, according to its website.

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