"Rerun" asteroid buzzes Earth in second close shave of 2017

The faint smudge in the circle is Rerun, captured via the Slooh Observatory as it passed Earth.

Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

For the second time this month, an asteroid that we didn’t even know existed a week ago has passed closer by the surface of the Earth than the distance to the moon.

Asteroid 2017 BX was spotted for the first time ever on January 20 and it came within 162,252 miles of us, or a little over two thirds of the way to the moon, as it sailed by Tuesday evening just before 9 p.m. PT.

The Slooh Observatory actually managed to capture a very faint image of the passing of 2017 BX, nicknamed “Rerun” for the short-statured character from the classic TV show “What’s Happening!!

“Rerun” just barely shows up in the image for the same reason that it wasn’t even discovered until it was fast approaching us -- it’s relatively small and moving very fast. The space rock is estimated to be about the size of a killer whale, between 10 and 40 feet in diameter, and cruising at 17,000 miles per hour, or ten times as fast as a bullet fired from an AK-47.

“Rerun” passes us just a few weeks after another newly discovered asteroid, 2017 AG13, came within about 126,000 miles of us.

Asteroids safely pass by our planet just about every day, but most are several times further away than the moon when they do. For example, a much larger asteroid over a mile in diameter also passed Earth Tuesday, but at a distance of 6 million miles or over 25 times the distance to the moon.

You can watch the rerun of “Rerun” flying by us in the video below:

Asteroid 2017 BX "Rerun" Flies By the Earth by Slooh on YouTube

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