An asteroid, named 2024 MK, will make a close approach to Earth tonight, passing by at a distance of about three-quarters the distance between our planet and the moon.

While this space rock poses no threat, it offers a rare opportunity for skywatchers to catch a glimpse of this celestial visitor.

Discovered just two weeks ago by a South African observatory, the asteroid is estimated to be between 393 and 853 feet wide. While smaller asteroids frequently fly past Earth, objects of this size are relatively uncommon, with similar encounters occurring roughly every 25 years.

“We’re going to see a few of those during our lifetimes, but it’s not something that happens every other day,” said Davide Farnocchia, an asteroid expert at NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.

While a larger asteroid, measuring 7,579 feet in diameter, safely passed Earth on Thursday, it was at a greater distance and only visible to professional telescopes.

To catch a glimpse of 2024 MK, skywatchers will need a small telescope, as the asteroid won’t be bright enough to be seen with the naked eye. It will be moving quickly across the southern sky, making it a challenging target.

“The asteroid will be plowing through that field of stars,” explained Nick Moskovitz, an astronomer at Lowell Observatory.

Those in the Southern Hemisphere will have the best chance of spotting the asteroid as it appears higher overhead. North American viewers may want to wait until Saturday night, when the asteroid, though less bright, will be easier to spot without the interference of sunlight.

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