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Home > Public Information > Public Releases > Asteroid 2023 DZ2, Discovered Using the INT and Headed for Earth, Will Not Impact
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ING research news release
30 August, 2023

Asteroid 2023 DZ2, Discovered Using the INT and Headed for Earth, Will Not Impact

Asteroid 2023 DZ2, discovered using the Isaac Newton Telescope, will not collide with Earth, even though their orbits intersect. The results of a detailed analysis reveal the orbit of 2023 DZ2 is synchronised with that of Jupiter, reducing the probability of a collision in the coming decades.

The investigation, completed just one month after discovery, demonstrates that it is possible to carry out a detailed and reliable study of the physical properties of an asteroid in a short period of time. The object is described as very dense, evidenced by its rapid rotation - rotating about 10 times per hour with a size of about 40 metres, comparable to the size of the Statue of Liberty.

Its composition is most likely metallic, and if it collided with Earth most of it would reach the surface, avoiding significant disintegration on passing through the atmosphere.

The Isaac Newton Telescope (left) was used to discover near-Earth asteroid 2023 DZ2. Credit: Raúl de la Fuente Marcos. The discovery images (right) show the asteroid moving relative to the more distant and fixed background stars. Credit: EURONEAR and PARASOL. Large format: JPG. Animation: GIF.

"Having this information is important in the context of the prevention and mitigation of natural disasters. Cosmic impacts - collisions of asteroids or comets with Earth - are one of the few natural disasters that can be predicted with great precision if sufficient data is available", explains Raúl de la Fuente Marcos, a researcher at the Department of Earth Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

The researchers used observational techniques (both spectroscopy and photometry), machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to identify new objects in the acquired images. These algorithms are exclusive to the Romanian ParaSOL project, funded by UEFISCDI, and to EURONEAR, an international collaboration that includes professional and amateur astronomers and students mostly from Romania, Spain, the United Kingdom and Chile.

"It is unusual for discoveries of objects that could collide with Earth to be made outside of the USA. Neither Europe, nor China, nor the Russian Federation have such ambitious programmes, with so many resources", acknowledges de la Fuente Marcos.

After a month of study, it became clear that the object was affected by an unusual resonance with Jupiter. Despite the fact that the Earth's orbit intersects that of the object, there is no real danger of a collision in the near future (years) and medium term (decades). "Predictions beyond the next century are too uncertain; more data are needed to enable reliable long-term predictions to be made", concludes the expert.

About the Isaac Newton Telescope

The Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) is operated on the island of La Palma by the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC). The ING is funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC-UKRI) of the United Kingdom, the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) of the Netherlands, and the IAC in Spain. IAC's contribution to ING is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.

Related publications

Marcel M. Popescu, O. Văduvescu, J. de León, C. de la Fuente Marcos, R. de la Fuente Marcos, M. O. Stănescu, M. R. Alarcon, M. Serra Ricart, J. Licandro, D. Berteşteanu, M. Predatu, L. Curelaru, F. Barwell, K. Jhass, C. Boldea, A. Aznar Macías, L. Hudin and B. A. Dumitru, 2023, "Discovery and physical characterization as the first response to a potential asteroid collision: The case of 2023 DZ2", A&A, 676, A126 [ Paper ]

Discovery of 2023 DZ2: MPEC 2023-F12, 16 March 2023.


Raúl de la Fuente Marcos
Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Javier Méndez
ING PR Officer

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Last modified: 30 August 2023