A bus-size asteroid will safely pass between Earth and the moon today (Jan. 24), and the online Slooh observatory will provide live views of the space rock just hours before its closest approach.
The asteroid, called 2017 BX, is about the size of a bus, according to NASA’s Asteroid Watch tracker. NASA estimates that the object is about 28 feet (8.5 meters) wide. You can see the orbit of the asteroid, as projected by the Near-Earth Object Program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Slooh’s webcast on 2017 BX will begin at 5:30 p.m. EST (2230 GMT) and will be available directly at Slooh.com.
Asteroid 2017 BX, nicknamed “Rerun” by Slooh astronomers after actor Fred Berry’s famous role on the 1970s show “What’s Happening!!”, is the second asteroid of its size to pass near Earth in the past three weeks. Rerun was discovered a few days ago, according to Slooh.
“During the broadcast, Slooh astronomers will be on hand to answer questions about the newly discovered asteroid,” Slooh representatives said in a statement. “They’ll discuss its size, speed and makeup, while also exploring why smaller asteroids like Rerun and its larger cousin so often go undetected until just days before they reach their closest point to the planet.”
Rerun was discovered Jan. 20. While NASA pegs its general size at 28 feet across, it may be as small as 13 feet (4 m) or as large as 46 feet (14 m) in diameter, according to Slooh astronomers. Its closest approach, which will occur just before midnight tonight, will bring it to within 162,252 miles (261,119 kilometers) of Earth, which is 30 percent closer than Earth is to the moon.