A small asteroid the size of a bus will pass near Earth this Friday, March 2nd. However, there is no danger in perspective: you will even have the chance to follow its course across the sky through a live webcast.
This new object called 2018 DV1 will pass by Earth at a distance of 105,000 kilometers during its overflight. That’s about a third of the average distance of the moon from Earth according to NASA’s Asteroid Watch researchers. The object, which is approximately 7 meters wide, can be followed via a free webcast directed by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi in Ceccano, Italy.
Images of the asteroid observed by a telescope located in Arizona will be published, and the first ones should be available on Friday. The object will be the 18th asteroid known to fly over the Earth at a lunar distance since the beginning of the year, and the 6th closest.
In addition, the virtual telescope will also enthusiasts the opportunity to follow another asteroid called 2017 VR12, which will fly close to Earth on March 7th. The latter will pass nearly 1.4 million km from the Earth at its nearest point.
According to the Minor Planet Center, it measures between 150 and 470 m wide. Its size – combined with its flying distance from the Earth – places it in the category of asteroids deemed “potentially dangerous”. But that does not mean you have to panic: NASA classifies any near-Earth asteroid over 150 meters in diameter with an orbit of at least 7.5 million km from the Earth as a “potentially dangerous object.”
However, in 2013, a meteorite had crossed the Russian skies in the southern Urals. With a diameter slightly less than the two asteroids, the object had entered the atmosphere by releasing an energy equivalent to 30 times the Hiroshima bomb, creating a sufficient shock wave that caused massive destruction, including roof damage and the breaking of thousands of windows throughout the city.