Washington, March 23 : A gigantic asteroid is set to fly by Earth at half the distance of the moon on Saturday, the media reported. If the asteroid, known as 2023 DZ2, were to smash into Earth, it would potentially cause major damage. However, it is likely to make a clean pass speeding by at 28,044 km/h, according to EarthSky. Asteroid 2023 DW Will Not Be Hitting Earth on Valentine’s Day 2046.

Astronomers at the observatory of La Palma, in the Canary Islands, Spain, discovered the asteroid in late February 2023. It is estimated to be between 44 and 99 metres in diameter. The closest approach to Earth is thought to occur at around 19:51 UTC (1:21 a.m. IST) on March 25. Scientists Slam LEO Satellites for Causing Light Pollution and Hindering Astronomers’ Work.

"A newly discovered #asteroid named 2023 DZ2 will safely pass by Earth on Saturday at 100K+ miles away," NASA Asteroid Watch wrote on Twitter. "While close approaches are a regular occurrence, one by an asteroid of this size (140-310 ft) happens only about once per decade, providing a unique opportunity for science," it added.

Skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere might get a glimpse of the asteroid as it speeds past Earth. 2023 DZ2 is classified as a NEO (Near Earth Object). It orbits the sun every 3.16 years. Because it crosses Earth's orbit, the asteroid is known as an Apollo-class asteroid.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 23, 2023 03:25 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).