Bus-Size Asteroid Buzzing Earth Tonight Stars in Slooh Webcast

near-earth asteroid
Artist's impression of a near-Earth asteroid. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Update for Wednesday, Jan. 25: Asteroid 2017 BX has safely passed by Earth. You can see a photo of the asteroid by Slooh at our latest story here: Newfound Asteroid 'Rerun' Zips Harmlessly By Earth.

A bus-size asteroid will safely pass between Earth and the moon today (Jan. 24), and the online Slooh observatory will provide live views of the space rock just hours before its closest approach.

The asteroid, called 2017 BX, is about the size of a bus, according to NASA's Asteroid Watch tracker. NASA estimates that the object is about 28 feet (8.5 meters) wide. You can see the orbit of the asteroid, as projected by the Near-Earth Object Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

Slooh's webcast on 2017 BX will begin at 5:30 p.m. EST (2230 GMT) and will be available directly at Slooh.com here.

You can also watch the asteroid flyby webcast at Space.com, courtesy of Slooh. 

Asteroid 2017 BX, nicknamed "Rerun" by Slooh astronomers after actor Fred Berry's famous role on the 1970s show "What's Happening!!", is the second asteroid of its size to pass near Earth in the past three weeks. Rerun was discovered a few days ago, according to Slooh.

"During the broadcast, Slooh astronomers will be on hand to answer questions about the newly discovered asteroid," Slooh representatives said in a statement. "They'll discuss its size, speed and makeup, while also exploring why smaller asteroids like Rerun and its larger cousin so often go undetected until just days before they reach their closest point to the planet."

Rerun was discovered Jan. 20. While NASA pegs its general size at 28 feet across, it may be as small as 13 feet (4 m) or as large as 46 feet (14 m) in diameter, according to Slooh astronomers.  Its closest approach, which will occur just before midnight tonight, will bring it to within 162,252 miles (261,119 kilometers) of Earth, which is 30 percent closer than Earth is to the moon.

The views of Rerun will come courtesy of Slooh's telescopes in Spain's Canary Islands. Viewers can take part in the broadcast by tweeting @Slooh or participating in a live chat on Slooh's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SloohLive/.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace