It’s called 2017 BS32 and was just discovered on Monday. Later today, the asteroid will pass more than twice as close to Earth as the Moon at just 100,214 miles above our planet. Here are a few quick facts about 2017 BS32.
It measures between 36 and 82 feet. It’s a decent sized rock but wouldn’t do much damage on Earth. At least, not on a large scale. A similar asteroid would be the one that exploded above Russia in 2013. One chunk weighing over 1,400 pounds was pulled out of a lake. There’s even footage of the rock impacting Lake Chebarkul.
Closest approach at 3:23 pm EST. At its closest, 2017 BS32 will be just 100,214 miles away. That’s about 60% closer than the Moon. Slooh plans to point its telescopes at BS32 during the approach and see what it can learn. A closer observation can help astronomers get better measurements of the asteroid’s size and speed.
Another close asteroid encounter. 2017 BS32 is the third near-Earth asteroid making a close flyby of Earth. All three are newly discovered just days before their flybys. And astronomers are noticing the uptick. “It raises a few eyebrows when we see a number of close approaching NEAs over such a short period time,” says Slooh Astronomer Paul Cox. “We’ll investigate how this could be.”
Armageddon isn’t known for its good science, but Billy Bob Thornton has a point.
Bottom line? It’s a big ass sky, and there’s a lot floating around it we don’t know about. In 2017 BS32’s case, it’s a harmless asteroid that comes a little closer to Earth than most. At least, we know about it. We didn’t know about the Chelyabinsk meteor until it exploded in the skies above Russia.
Slooh will train its telescopes on the chunk of space rock.
UPDATE: Here’s the live stream from about an hour ago.
You won’t see much, but the two folks from Slooh talk about the asteroid for about 30 minutes. Fast forward to about 13:30 to see a faint streak of the asteroid according to Slooh.
At 3 pm EST, the Slooh observatory will start their live stream of the BS32 flyby. They’ll be training their telescopes on the asteroid during its closest approach. Tune in, and you might see a glimpse of it. You can also ask Slooh’s astronomers questions about the asteroid on Twitter or in their live stream.