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Newly spotted asteroid passed between Earth and moon on Feb. 2

For the third time in just four weeks, an asteroid flew between the Earth and the Moon just days after its discovery.

A recently discovered asteroid called 2017 BS32 will pass between Earth and the moon on Feb. 2.

Space.com reports that the bus-sized asteroid was first spotted on Jan. 30 and is expected to fly by Earth without causing any damage.  The asteroid was first discovered by scientists from the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS).

2017 BS32 is one of three near-Earth asteroids passing by on the same day.  The other two space rocks are traveling much further from Earth, at 1.3 and 2.5 million miles away respectively.

Scientists tracking 2017 BS32 believe that the asteroid will come within about 101,214 miles of Earth, making its closest approach at 3:23 p.m. EDT on Feb. 2.  The asteroid is about 39 feet wide.

Since Jan. 9, three other small asteroids have flown by notably close to Earth.  On Jan. 29, a 19-foot-wide asteroid called 2017 BH30 flew by within 32,200 miles of Earth just hours after it was first spotted.

The Jan. 9 asteroid, called 2017 AG13, was detected two days before its flyby.  The next asteroid called 2017 BX and nicknamed “Rerun,” was spotted four days before its closest approach to Earth on Jan. 24.

“It raises a few eyebrows when we see a number of close-approaching NEAs [near-Earth asteroids] over such a short period of time,” Paul Cox of Slooh said in a statement. “We’ll investigate how this could be.”

Astronomers at Slooh and other observatories will track 2017 BS32 to make note of its size and speed while investigating the possible reasons why small near-Earth asteroids are so difficult to detect until they are days or hours away from passing by Earth.

Kathy Fey

Kathy Fey

Staff Writer
Kathy Fey is a freelance writer with a creative writing degree from Mount Holyoke College. She is an active blogger and erstwhile facilitator of science and engineering programs for children.
About Kathy Fey (628 Articles)
Kathy Fey is a freelance writer with a creative writing degree from Mount Holyoke College. She is an active blogger and erstwhile facilitator of science and engineering programs for children.