An asteroid known as 2018 DV1 will fly by the Earth this Friday, reaching its closest point at approximately 12:54 p.m. EST.
It is expected to pass from 70,000 miles away from the surface, a much nearer distance in contrast with Sunday's encounter with 2018 DU, which zoomed 175,000 miles above our planet.
Although today's approach is nearer, it cannot be viewed by the naked eye as 2018 DV1 only has a diameter of around 20 to 40 feet. To watch the asteroid, a powerful telescope is needed.
Fortunately, The Virtual Telescope Project 2.0 led by Italian astrophysicist Gianluca Masi is hosting a live stream of the phenomenon. Access is free of charge.
More Information About 2018 DV1
2018 DV1 was first identified on Monday, Feb. 26, by astronomers at Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona. However, this is not the first time it has whizzed by the Earth.
According to the Small-Body Database by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the object actually approaches our planet at least once in every few years.
Calculations show that its last flyby occurred on Aug. 2, 2017, and the next one should be expected this coming Feb. 26, 2019. This year's distance, though, is the closest that the asteroid has or will every pass.
Since the start of the year, 2018 DV1 ranks as the 18th identified asteroid to whiz by the Earth within lunar distance or 239,000 miles.
Small asteroid encounters do not normally come this close to our planet, but don't worry as it falls short of the magnitude scale. It is likely to break up into small pieces in the atmosphere and would virtually be dust if it were to reach the ground.
Next Asteroid Encounter With 2017 VR12
Another asteroid called 2017 VR12 is approaching the Earth on Wednesday, March 7. It will pass by at an estimated distance of around 870,000 miles.
The upcoming object will be around 492 to 1,542 feet wide. Such measurement, in combination with the distance of the encounter from our planet, classifies it as potentially dangerous.
Nonetheless, this is not a reason for panic as NASA puts any near-Earth asteroid wider than 492 feet that dashes by within 4.6 million miles from the surface under the same category.
These subsequent encounters are not indicative of a looming danger like an asteroid impact. It is known that small asteroids like 2018 DV1 frequently whiz by our planet for billions of years but we're only getting news of them now because they weren't detectable in the past.