Asteroid travelling at 33,300mph set to crash into Earth’s atmosphere this week - how to watch live

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Asteroid 2023 BU, spotted by NASA, will skim the Earth’s surface travelling at a staggering 33,300mph

A huge asteroid is set to crash into the Earth’s atmosphere this week, travelling at a staggering 33,300mph.

The asteroid, named asteroid 2023 BU, was spotted by NASA’s Centre for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) on Saturday (21 January).

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It is scheduled to shoot past Earth on Friday morning (27 January) at around 12.30am.

The rock will skim about 2,500 miles above the Earth’s surface, making it the fourth-nearest of past and future space rocks to come close to our planet.

NASA/AFP via Getty Images

The asteroid will be very close to Earth, coming within 3% of the average distance between the Earth and the moon.

However, the CNEOS has said that even if the asteroid did have a trajectory for Earth, there wouldn’t be too much to worry about because this little asteroid measures between 12.4ft and 27.8ft.

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Any asteroids smaller than around 82ft are more likely to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere than hit the ground, according to the space experts at NASA.

How to watch the asteroid pass Earth

Astronomy buffs will be able to spot Asteroid 2023 BU shoot past our skies via the Virtual Telescope Project (VTP) operated by the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory.

The VTP is a set of robotic telescopes based in Ceccano, Italy, that are accessible online. It allows you to have your own astronomical experience from the comfort of your home.

VTP’s live feed of the asteroid will start on Thursday 26 January at 7.15pm.

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A new handheld laser funded by NASA has recently been developed to potentially help scientists detect alien life. The updated handled device is said to be small enough and light enough for astronauts to carry along with them on space missions.

The device weighs 17 pounds and was created by a University of Maryland led team. It uses an ultraviolet laser to remove particles from planetary material. These particles are then analysed with the hopes of finding organic compounds.

The laser will allow scientists to access larger compounds with more complex properties in relation to biology. Scientists say the laser might be ready to launch into space in “the next few years’” and  is more suited to space travel than the previous, much larger, prototype.

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