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A SO-CALLED ‘city killer’ asteroid is set to fly between Earth and the Moon this weekend – keeping astronomers on the edge of their seats.
The space rock, estimated to be between 40 and 90metres in diameter, is expected to make it’s pass by our planet on Saturday.
Known to astronomers as 2023 DZ2, the asteroid was discovered a month ago.
Scientists say it’s rare for such a large asteroid to come so close to Earth.
The rock will come within 68,000kilometres of our planet.
This is around the same distance covered when travelling from London to Sydney and back – twice.
However, astronomers have assured it is of no threat to human life.
“There is no chance of this ‘city killer’ striking Earth, but its close approach offers a great opportunity for observations,” said Richard Moissl, the European Space Agency’s planetary defence chief.
The fly-by will instead be a key opportunity for astronomers to learn more about asteroids.
Amateur star gazers may also catch a glimpse of the asteroid, with the help of either binoculars or a small telescope.
Those who can’t spot it in the sky can watch a live web broadcast of DZ2’s approach by The Virtual Telescope Project.
The object looks set to return towards Earth’s orbit in 2026, but scientists have ruled it out as a threat to the planet on that occasion too.
In the unlikely event the asteroid changes course, humans should be able to relax somewhat.
Nasa’s bonkers mission to knock an asteroid off its course in a test-run to save humanity last year actually worked, new images revealed earlier this month.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, known as DART, saw the first-ever trial of preventing a potentially devastating asteroid collision with Earth.
This means that even if a catastrophic asteroid was going to collide with Earth, that Nasa now has a back-up plan – although it is still being perfected.
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