Astronomers managed to capture incredible footage of the moment an asteroid zoomed past Earth.
It was easier said than done, as the asteroid was ‘just’ 354,000 kilometers (219,965 miles) away from us, and was picked out amongst a sky full of stars.
While the asteroid doesn’t sound like it came particularly close, it ended up coming nine-tenths of the average distance between Earth and the Moon.
Astronomers caught it all on a Virtual Telescope Project livestream, with the asteroid appearing as a white dot moving in between the stars.
Unlike minor planets, asteroids don’t tend to get interesting name, mainly because there are so many of them out there.
Instead, they’re given simple numerical and letter-coded names for record-keeping and study, and the asteroid in question has been named 2024 BJ.
Astronomers first picked up the asteroid earlier this month, before passing by Earth at its closest point on January 27.
The video footage above, captured by astronomer Gianluca Masi, shows 2024 BJ in flight, with the asteroid appearing as a static white light against a moving background of stars, as the telescope tracks it.
We think of asteroids and worry about the possibility of a collision with Earth.
Basically, the sort of apocalyptic impact that made dinosaurs extinct millions of years ago.
However, the risks were never really present in this case, as 2024 BJ wasn’t even close enough to be classed as a potential hazard.
Even if it somehow veered off. course and did hit Earth, it wouldn’t make that much of an impact.
2024 BJ is what’s known as an ‘Apollo’ asteroid, meaning it has a sort of egg-shaped orbit around the sun that only occasionally brings it near Earth.
Meanwhile, NASA has finally opened up a capsule containing a sample from asteroid Bennu.
Some of the images in this article were created using AI.