An asteroid designated 2017 BX – found just days ago, on January 20 – passed between the Earth and moon on late Tuesday night according to clocks in the Americas. The asteroid’s closest approach was 11:45 ET on January 24, 2017 (04:45 UTC on January 25; translate to your time zone). It came within 0.68 lunar distances, or about 162,252 miles (261,120 km). Slooh broadcast a show about this asteroid last night, which you can see in the video above. Slooh said that asteroid 2017 BX has been nicknamed:
… Rerun in honor of the beloved, late actor Fred Berry.
This is the second time in just three weeks that a small asteroid passed between our Earth and moon.
The asteroid’s estimated size is between 13 and 46 feet (4 and 14 meters). It’s Apollo-class asteroid, that is, an asteroid with an orbit that crosses Earth’s orbit.
At the time of its closest approach to Earth, its estimated velocity is 4.62 miles per second (7.44 km/s), or about 10 times as fast as a bullet fired from an AK-47.
2017 BX was first observed at Pan-STARRS 1, Haleakala on January 20, 2017.
The next time this object will close to Earth will be on January 12, 2070, when it’ll pass 37.9 lunar distances away.
Bottom line: Asteroid 2017 BX – found just days ago – passed between the Earth and moon Tuesday night or Wednesday according to your time zone. Closest approach was 11:45 ET on January 24, 2017 (04:45 UTC for January 25; translate to your time zone).
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.