This Week A Colossal Asteroid Will Approach Closer To Earth Than The Moon

According to NASA, an exceptionally rare event will occur this week where a colossal asteroid will approach closer to Earth than the moon, an event that only takes place once per decade.

This asteroid, called 2023 DZ2, was recently discovered by astronomers at Spain's La Palma-based Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on February 27 of this year.

NASA indicates that the asteroid is estimated to be between 140 to 310 feet in size and is traveling at a velocity of 17,403 miles per hour.

For context, NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies has stated that the colossal rock will pass Earth at a distance of 108,758 miles, while the moon is situated 238,855 miles away.

NASA's Asteroid Watch took to Twitter to share: "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."

"Astronomers with the International Asteroid Warning Network are using this close approach to learn as much as possible about 2023 DZ2 in a short time period - good practice for #PlanetaryDefense in the future if a potential asteroid threat were ever discovered."

There is a possibility of catching a glimpse of 2023 DZ2 as it flies by; however, a telescope would likely be necessary.

The asteroid will approach Earth closest on Saturday, March 25, but it will be observable in the days leading up to that. According to Derek Smale, an astronomer and program manager at the UK Space Agency, the asteroid is currently only visible through large telescopes.

Still, it is expected to brighten during its closest approach, and by Thursday evening, it may even be visible through binoculars and certainly through a small telescope.

"If you can get away from bright street/car/building lights (and give your eyes time to adapt to the dark), you'll have a much better chance of spotting it," Smale shared.

"The asteroid will be brightest during its closest pass on Saturday, but the best time to see it (from the UK) is probably on Friday evening, where it will be just below the Beehive Cluster of stars in the constellation of Cancer."