A MASSIVE asteroid is going to zoom past Earth tonight in a surprise display.
Amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov discovered the bus-sized cosmic rock on Saturday.
The asteroid will be closest to Earth at around 7:27pm Eastern Time, or just gone midnight for Brits at 12:27am on Friday in the UK.
It will fly 3,600kilometres above the southern tip of South America.
Its passing of our home planet will be intimate.
Scientists estimate the asteroid will come 10 times closer than a standard communication satellite.
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Communication satellites usually sit in geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) which is around 35,790kilometres above the equator.
Nasa's impact hazard system, known as Scout, has quelled fears that the asteroid, known as 2023 BU, poses any threat to Earth.
Scout's developer, engineer Davide Farnocchia, urged that it will be a near miss, with no chance of it colliding with Earth.
"But despite the very few observations, it was nonetheless able to predict that the asteroid would make an extraordinarily close approach with Earth," Farnocchia said in a statement.
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"In fact, this is one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded."
The gravity of Earth will alter the asteroid's path once it whips past, adding some 66 days onto its journey past the sun.
The orbital trip would typically take the asteroid 359 days, scientists mapped out.
But after its close encounter with our world, the asteroid will move into a 425-day orbit.
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