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‘Once in a decade’ asteroid set to zoom past Earth


An asteroid big enough to destroy a city is scheduled to zoom between earth and the moon, but astronomers assure there is no threat of collision.

The large rock, named 2023 DZ2, was only discovered in late February.

Its estimated diameter is between 40 and 100 metres, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

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Such a fly-by “happens only about once per decade,” wrote NASA’s Planetary Defence Coordination Office on Twitter, adding that the track of 2023 DZ2 takes it “safely” past earth.

Scientists say asteroid 2023 DZ2, indicated by an arrow at the centre, will zip by earth. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

At its closest point to our planet – expected at 1950 GMT Saturday (6.50am on Sunday AEDT) – the asteroid will be about 168,000 kilometres away, according to the ESA.

By comparison, the moon is 384,400 kilometres from earth.

With a clear sky, the asteroid can be observed with binoculars or a telescope.

“There is no chance of this ‘city killer’ striking earth but its close approach offers a great opportunity for observations,” ESA’s planetary defence chief Richard Moissl said.

The agency put the chance of 2023 DZ2 hitting earth within the next century at zero.

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Source: 7News