Watch a bus-size asteroid buzz Earth to start the weekend

A bus-size asteroid this week will zip by us at a distance that’s less than a third of the length between the Earth and the moon. You can watch the sassy space rock, named 2018 DV1, whip past us right here starting late Thursday or early Friday, depending on your time zone.

The news of this ominous visitor might make some people freak out, but we get fly-bys like this several times a year that pass quietly without incident. In fact, one asteroid came almost three times as close to our planet on Jan. 18 and a pair of celestial wanderers made similar passes on a single day last month. 

We also had another one slip between the moon and here on Monday, which the Virtual Telescope Project managed to photograph pretty clearly

Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi, who’s with the project, will be at it again later this evening when he hosts a live webcast of 2018 DV1’s visit, starting at 9:30 p.m. PT. You can watch via the embedded feed above. 

In recent years we’ve become more aware of the number of space rocks in our cosmic neighborhood, especially after one went completely undetected in 2013 before slamming into the atmosphere over Russia, blowing out windows and causing numerous injuries. 

Over 15,000 near-Earth asteroids have been cataloged, but we continue to spot new ones all the time. NASA even has a spacecraft heading for a large asteroid right now so we can learn more about them and perhaps be better prepared if we ever come across one that’s aimed to send us the way of the dinosaurs

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