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A skyscraper-sized asteroid has passed the Earth. Scientists noticed it only two days later

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An asteroid the size of a 20-story building passed the Earth last week. She was moving at a speed of about 86,000 kilometers per hour. Astronomers noticed it only two days later, when it was already moving away from our planet.

An asteroid named 2023 NT1 flew past Earth on Thursday, July 13. It was moving at a speed of about 86,000 kilometers per hour, NASA said. Experts estimated that the size corresponded to a 20-story building. It approached our planet to a distance equal to about a quarter of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

The object, about 60 meters long, was flying towards Earth from the Sun’s side, which is why the glare from our star blinded the telescopes. Astronomers did not observe the asteroid until two days after it had already moved away from our planet.

The asteroid was spotted two days later

Astronomers did not register the asteroid until Saturday, July 15, when a telescope in South Africa captured the object moving away from Earth. This telescope is part of a network of devices designed to detect asteroids. This program is called the Asteroid Terrestial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS). According to the Minor Planet Center organization, operated under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union, a dozen other telescopes also spotted the asteroid soon after.

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ATLAS is a research program whose goal is to detect asteroids potentially threatening the Earth. It consists of four telescopes: two are located in Hawaii, one in Chile and one in South Africa.

According to the lifescience.com portal, asteroid 2023 NT1 is not large enough to be considered a potentially dangerous object. Having calculated its trajectory for the next decade, astronomers say there is no imminent risk of it colliding with Earth.

Recent research suggests Earth is safe from asteroids – at least from the big, extinction ones – for the next 1,000 years. This is due to an article published in May this year by scientists from the US, including from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

An abstract vision of an asteroid approaching the earthShutterstock | illustrative photo

Main photo source: Shutterstock | illustrative photo

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