A newly discovered asteroid will swing past Earth this weekend, coming closer than the Moon

2024 BJ will pass by Earth — harmlessly — at 12:29 p.m. EST on Saturday, Jan. 27.
By | Published: January 26, 2024

A recently-discovered asteroid named 2024 BJ will pass by Earth — harmlessly — at 12:29 p.m. EST on Saturday, Jan. 27.

2024 BJ will come within some 220,000 miles (354,000 kilometers) of Earth, closer than the average distance between the Moon and Earth.

Still, the asteroid will not be visible to the naked eye. It’s too small. At an estimated 72 feet (22 meters), it’s about the size of two telephone poles stacked end to end. At a magnitude of 15.5 at its brightest, the asteroid will be about as bright as Pluto is in the sky. Only larger telescopes will catch 2024 BJ’s journey near Earth as it speeds by at around 58,000 miles (93,300 km) per hour.

Still, if you want to see the asteroid, The Virtual Telescope Project will livestream the close encounter starting at 17:00 UTC (noon EST). 

Apollo Asteroids

The asteroid is considered an Apollo asteroid, which are asteroids who come closer to the Sun than 1.017 astronomical units. (One astronomical unit, or AU, is the average Earth-Sun distance.) These objects cross Earth’s orbit and, if large enough, can be considered potentially hazardous asteroids. However, 2024 BJ4 is not dangerous to Earth.

The next time 2024 BJ will swing near to our planet is over a decade away, on March 31, 2034. This encounter won’t be nearly as close, though, at a distance of about 23 million miles (37.5 million km).