On Valentine's Day 2046, almost every telescope in the world will be doing the same thing: Watching asteroid 2023 DW streak past Earth. The newly-discovered space rock will come perilously close to our planet with an approximately 1/560 chance of actually hitting, according to NASA. Red dots in this map show possible impact sites on Feb. 14, 2046:

dw_impact strip.jpeg

The impact zone of asteroid 2023 DW and (inset) an image of the space rock from the Sormano Observatory in Italy

Now for the good news: This is probably nothing to worry about. The odds of a collision are only 0.18%, which means there is a 99.82% of a miss. These odds will probably tilt further in our favor as the asteroid's orbit is refined by additional observations.

"I have worked out almost 65,000 different possible orbits of 2023 DW and only 150 of these indicate an impact," says astronomer Enrico Colzani of the Sormano Observatory in Italy, who made the impact map. "New observations in the coming days will probably eliminate even this small possibility."

Discovered by Georges Attard and Alain Maury in San Pedro de Atacama on Feb. 26th, asteroid 2023 DW is approximately 50 meters in diameter, roughly the size of the object that caused the Tunguska Event in 1908. So if it *did* hit, people in the impact zone would certainly notice. Stay tuned for updates.


Whoa! This may be a close shave. However, as it states above, further observations will be able to further define 2023 DW's actual path near Earth and it may be much ado aboutnnothing.


Latest posts