[Source: BBC News]
Now it’s over, we can say it: a biggish asteroid passed by Earth a short while ago.
About the size of a minibus, the space rock, known as 2023 BU, whipped over the southern tip of South America just before 00:30am GMT.
With the closest approach of 3,600km (2,200 miles), it counts as a close shave.
And it illustrates how there are still asteroids of significant size lurking near Earth that remain to be detected.
This one was only picked up last weekend by amateur astronomer Gennadiy Borisov, who operates from Nauchnyi in Crimea, the peninsula that Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014.
Follow-up observations have refined what we know about 2023 BU’s size and, crucially, its orbit.
That’s how astronomers could be so confident it would miss the planet, even though it came inside the arc occupied by the world’s telecommunications satellites, which sit 36,000km (22,000 miles) above us.
The chances of hitting a satellite are very, very small.
The time of lowest altitude was accurately calculated to be 19:27 EST on Thursday, or 00:27 GMT on Friday.