An asteroid discovered late last month has a “very small chance” of impacting Earth on Valentine’s Day in 2046, NASA said Tuesday, as astronomers worked to collect more data.
2023 DW was first detected in Chile at the end of February – and after about a week of observations – has a 1 in 560 chance of hitting Earth at 21:44 UTC on February 14, 2046, according to NASA.
“We have been tracking a new asteroid called 2023 DW that has a very small chance of impacting Earth in 2046,” NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office said in a statement Tuesday.
“Often when new objects are first detected, it takes several weeks of data to reduce uncertainties and adequately predict their orbits for years into the future,” the office said.
The asteroid is about 50 meters (164 feet) in diameter, more than twice as large as the meteorite that caused an airburst over Russia in 2013, damaging homes and injuring nearly 1,500 people.
2023 DW is currently at the top of the European Space Agency’s risk list with number 1 on the Turin Scale – meaning there is no reason for public concern at this time. More notes the risk can be reset to zero.
“Orbit analysts will continue to monitor asteroid 2023 DW and update forecasts as more data comes in,” NASA said.
In January, a newly discovered asteroid flew close to Earth at an altitude of 3,600 kilometers (2,200 miles), making it one of the closest encounters ever recorded. In February, a one-meter-long asteroid was discovered a few hours before it entered the atmosphere. The sky lights up in parts of France and Western Europe.
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