An asteroid large enough to wipe out a city will hurtle between Earth and the Moon’s orbit this weekend in a close encounter visible through binoculars and small telescopes.

The 300-foot (90-meter) piece of space rock, about the size of the Elizabeth Tower in Westminster (316 feet, or 96 meters) that houses Big Ben, will fly at 17,500 miles per hour.

Passing about 100,000 miles (168,000 kilometers) — less than half the distance between Earth and the moon — will give astronomers the opportunity to study the “city killer” asteroid from close quarters.

This image provided by Gianluca Massi shows asteroid 2023 DZ2, indicated by the arrow in the center, coming within about 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from Earth on March 22, 2023. On Saturday, March 25, 2023, the asteroid, large enough to be wiped out City, it will slip harmlessly between the Earth and the Moon.  While flybys of asteroids are common, NASA said it's ... rare for one so large to come close — about once every decade.  Scientists estimate its size to be somewhere between 140 feet and 310 feet.  (42 meters by 94 meters).  (Gianluca Massi Project/Virtual Telescope via AP)
The asteroid known as 2023 DZ2 will pass Earth on Saturday. Pic: AP

While such cosmic encounters are common, NASA It’s rare, he said, that someone gets close to that big — about once every decade.

Discovered a month ago, the asteroid known as 2023 DZ2 left the planet unharmed on Saturday, before returning to the solar system.

European Space Agency “There is no chance of the City Killer hitting Earth, but its close approach provides a great opportunity for observation,” said Planetary Defense Secretary Richard Moisel.

Scientists at the International Asteroid Warning Network see it as good planetary defense practice if and when a dangerous asteroid poses a threat, according to NASA.

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The Virtual Telescope Project will provide a live online broadcast of the close approach.

The asteroid is scheduled to return in 2026, and although it initially seemed like there was a small chance it could hit Earth at that time, scientists have since ruled it out.

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