An asteroid classified as “Potentially hazardous” will fly by Earth on June 11th, 2023, and it should be visible with a small telescope or binoculars. Earlier observations showed that the rock is a binary asteroid, composed of a large asteroid with a smaller “moonlet” orbiting it. The asteroid, known as 1994 XD, will come within 1.9 million miles of Earth, or about six and a half times the distance between our planet and the Moon. Although this may sound like a long way, it is considered a close approach in astronomical terms.
The asteroid is estimated to be around 1,200 and 2,700 feet (370 to 830 meters) in diameter, making it larger than the Eiffel Tower. Its size and proximity to our planet have led to it being classified as “potentially hazardous,” as even a small chance of impact could cause significant damage.
NASA’s Asteroid Watch program is closely monitoring 1994 XD and has stated that it poses no threat to Earth. However, the asteroid’s proximity offers a unique opportunity to study it and potentially glean new insights into the formation of the universe.
If you want to catch a glimpse of the asteroid as it passes by, the best time for observers in North America will be early in the morning on June 11th. The asteroid will appear in the constellation Monoceros and should be visible through small telescopes or binoculars.
It is always thrilling to witness the beauty and mysteries of the universe, and events like this offer the perfect opportunity to do so. So, mark your calendar, and don’t forget to grab your telescope or binoculars! Or you can watch a livestream courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project, which will broadcast the asteroid flyby on Sunday beginning around 8:50 p.m. EDT.