Monday, September 30, 2013

Asteroid Near-Miss Reported By Russian Scientists

Asteroid detected by Sternberg Astronomical Institute © Photo Moscow State University/MASTER/Vladimir Lipunov

A 15-meter (approximately 50 feet) asteroid, similar to the one that exploded above Russia in February, was detected hours before it narrowly missed the Earth over the weekend, Russian scientists said. Vladimir Lipunov of the Moscow State University and the Sternberg Astronomical Institute said on Sunday a network of telescopes operated by his team recorded a celestial body approaching the planet.

"[The asteroid] was discovered on Friday night by our station near Lake Baikal and nine hours later it flew within 11,300 kilometers of the Earth surface, below the orbit of geostationary satellites. It was about 15 meters in size,” he said.

The scientists originally thought that it could be a man-made object, such as a spent rocket booster, but rejected the idea when they couldn’t find a match in the space junk catalogue.

Asteroid detected by Sternberg Astronomical Institute © Photo Moscow State University/MASTER/Vladimir Lipunov
Asteroid detected by Sternberg Astronomical Institute © Photo Moscow State University/MASTER/Vladimir Lipunov

Lipunov said his team had notified the International Astronomical Union of their discovery, but it is yet to be confirmed.

A meteorite exploded on February 15 above the Urals city of Chelyabinsk. The meteorite weighed 10,000 tons prior to the explosion, according to expert estimates. About 1,500 people were injured in the blast, most of them by glass shattered by the shockwave.

Credit: RIA Novosti

5 comments:

  1. The asteroid was recovered - by German amateur astronomers! - today, and it turns out that the Russian orbit estimate was "grossly in error". The asteroid never comes really close to Earth (but just qualifies as a Potentially Hazardous Object). The Russian astronomers - let alone Russian media - jumped the gun with sensationalistic reporting, at least the latter not for the first time ...

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  2. This just helps to demonstrate that a short observation arc of 44 minutes in not always useful for determining an accurate orbit.

    With H=20.7, asteroid 2013 SW24 was much closer to 250 meters in diameter (not 15 meters). But obviously it passed 300 times further away.

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  3. 2013 SW24 shows a 1 in 1,449,000 chance of impact on 2032-09-09.
    (Keep in mind that the Uncertainty Parameter is 9 so the long-term orbit is very poorly determined with a short 3 day observation arc.)
    http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/risk/2013sw24.html

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    Replies
    1. my god you math wizards amaze me with your godltier number skills

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  4. Oh, let the Lemmings be... Lemmings.

    OH, and BTW, bite me.

    Coldest regards,
    2013 SW24

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