An asteroid is set to dive in between these two celestial objects this Saturday
An asteroid dubbed a “city killer” is set to whirl between the Earth and the moon this weekend, miraculously missing both.
While it is common for asteroids to fly past our planet, Nasa explained that it was unusual for one so large to go so close.
In fact, this kind of thing only happens around once every 10 years, so you can imagine scientists’ excitement when it was discovered a month ago.
The large rock, expected to be between 40 and 90 metres in diameter and now accompanied with the very catchy name of 2023 DZ2, will fly just 168,000 kilometres away from the Earth’s surface.
That’s less than half the distance between our planet and the moon.
It will also pass within 515,000 kilometres of the moon on Saturday at a speed of 28,000 km/h.
So, astronomers are understandably excitedly looking to study the phenomenon. The International Asteroid Warning Network even sees its as a chance to practice for planetary defence, according to Nasa, in case a dangerous asteroid does try to head to Earth.
Amateurs might be able to get a look in, too, as it will be even visible through binoculars and small telescopes.
Or you could watch a live webcast of the close approach on the Virtual Telescope Project.
And don’t worry – it will definitely not be a real life re-enactment of Adam Kay’s dystopian film, ‘Don’t Look Up’.
The European Space Agency’s planetary defence chief Richard Moissl said: “There is no chance of this ‘city killer’ striking Earth, but its close approach offers a great opportunity for observations.”
The size of the asteroid means it could wipe out a city, but scientists are not (we repeat: not) worried about this right now, because it’s not expected to collide with us.
Take this chance while you can – it won’t return until around 2026.
Asteroid 2023 DZ2, indicated by arrow at centre, about 1.8 million kilometres (1.1 million miles) away from the Earth on March 22, 2023.