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Astronomers captured incredible footage of newly discovered asteroid’s close encounter with Earth

Astronomers captured incredible footage of newly discovered asteroid’s close encounter with Earth

It's just one of the many asteroids flying close to Earth at the moment.

An asteroid has zoomed past Earth, and scientists have managed to capture incredible footage of it.

It's no mean feat, as the asteroid was about 354,000 kilometers away from us, and was picked out amongst a skyful of stars.

It ended up coming nine-tenths of the average distance between our planet and the Moon, and was all caught on a Virtual Telescope Project livestream - picked up as a white dot moving in between the stars.

John Pane / Getty

The asteroid in question is called 2024 BJ - these minor planets don't tend to get interesting names, since there are so many of them out there - instead, they're given simple numerical and letter-coded names for the sake of record-keeping and study.

It was first picked up by astronomers earlier this month, before passing by Earth at its closest point to us on January 27.

Impressively, as it flew past, astronomer Gianluca Masi managed to capture some video footage of 2024 BJ in flight, with the asteroid appearing as a static white light against a moving background of stars, as the telescope tracks it.

When you watch the video, you'll see that the footage is effectively captured at an extremely low frame rate, as snapshots stitched together.

While asteroids often conjure up worries about collisions with Earth and the sort of apocalyptic impact that made the dinosaurs extinct millions of years ago, the risks were never really present in this case.

2024 BJ wasn't even big enough to be classified as a potential hazard, meaning that even if it somehow veered off course and hit our planet, it wouldn't make that much of an impact.

The Virtual Telescope Project/YouTube

It's what's known as an 'Apollo' asteroid, which means it has a sort of egg-shaped orbit around the sun that only occasionally brings it near Earth.

Meanwhile, as the perfect demonstration that these asteroids are coming thick and fast, one the size of an airplane is set to speed past Earth today, according to NASA, with another the size of a stadium flying by on February 2.

The moral of the story? There's always a whole lot going on up in space - even if we barely realize what's happening here on Earth.

Featured Image Credit: JUAN GARTNER / Getty / The Virtual Telescope Project