An Enormous asteroid to pass by Earth over the weekend.

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This weekend, an asteroid big enough to demolish a city will pass through the orbits of the Earth and the Moon, fortunately avoiding both.

A newly-discovered asteroid named 2023 DZ2 will pass within 175,000km of Earth on Saturday at 19:49 GMT, after flying past the Moon. Measuring between 40 and 90m in diameter, it is considered a rare and significant event for astronomers to learn more about asteroids and their behavior. The close encounter is also important for NASA to test and refine its asteroid detection and response capabilities in case of a potentially hazardous asteroid.

“There is no chance of this ‘city killer’ striking Earth, but its close approach offers a great opportunity for observations,” said the European Space Agency’s planetary defense chief, Richard Moissl.

Mr Moissl said preliminary data suggested 2023 DZ2 was “a scientifically interesting object”.

But he added that more data was needed to determine the asteroid’s composition.

With such a close pass of the Earth, the asteroid could be visible through binoculars and small telescopes across the globe.

A live web broadcast of its approach will be provided by The Virtual Telescope Project.

The object looks set to return towards Earth’s orbit in 2026, but scientists have ruled it out as a threat to the planet on that occasion, too.

Earlier this month, a similarly sized asteroid, 2023 DW, was briefly given a one-in-432 chance of hitting Earth on Valentine’s Day 2046.

Moissl said 2023 DW was now expected to miss Earth by some 4.3 million km.

Even if such an asteroid was determined to be heading our way, Earth is no longer defenseless.

Last year, NASA’s Dart (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft deliberately slammed into the pyramid-sized asteroid Dimorphos.

Before Dart’s impact, it took Dimorphos 11 hours and 55 minutes to orbit its larger parent asteroid, Didymos.

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