Categories: Asteroids

8-Meter-Wide Asteroid Will Pass Close to Earth January 27

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A small asteroid will pass extremely close to Earth tomorrow (January 27, 2012). Named 2012 BX34, this 11 meter- (36 feet-) wide 8 meter- (26-foot-) space rock (astronomers have updated their estimates of the size) will skim Earth less than 60,000 km (37,000 miles, .0004 AU)>, at around 15:30 UTC, (10:30 am EST) according to the Minor Planet Center. The latest estimates have this small bus-sized asteroid it traveling at about about 8,900 meters/second (about 20,000 miles per hour). 2012 BX34 has been observed by the Catalina Sky Survey and the Mt. Lemmon Survey in Arizona, and the Magdalena Ridge Observatory in New Mexico, so its orbit is well defined and there is no risk of impact to Earth.

Via the @AsteroidWatch Twitter feed, scientists from JPL said “It wouldn’t get through our atmosphere intact even if it dared to try.”

Amateur astronomers in the right place and time could view this object, as it should be about magnitude 14 at the time of closest approach. Click here to see a current orbit diagram, and here to view the ephemeris data. Nick Howes, with the Faulkes Telescope Project said his team is hoping to observe and image the asteroid, — although they aren’t sure if they will be able — but we hope to share their images later.

Update: see images from astronomers on our latest article regarding 2012 BX34

Hat Tip: Nick Howes

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Nancy_A and and Instagram at and https://www.instagram.com/nancyatkinson_ut/

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