Friday, October 25, 2013

Impact Risk Hiked for 400-Meter-Wide Asteroid 2013 TV135

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 2013 TV135: 20 Oct. 2013. Credit: virtualtelescope.eu

NASA has upgraded the impact risk for a massive asteroid recently discovered by Ukrainian observers that will pass close to the Earth in 2032, although a collision remains unlikely. According to an update on NASA’s Near Earth Object Program site, the impact risk is now 1 in 9,090; up from 1 in 63,000 at the time the asteroid, identified as 2013 TV135, was discovered. However, the updated figures still mean that the chance of the asteroid completing a safe flyby is 99.989 percent, slightly down from 99.992 percent in the original estimate.

The 400-meter-wide asteroid, discovered by an observatory in Ukraine’s Crimea earlier this month, is one of two asteroids to currently rank above zero on the 10-degree Torino Scale, which estimates asteroid impact hazards.

Both score 1, but impact risks are constantly revised in line with new observations. A case in point is 99942 Apophis, a 325-meter-wide asteroid that briefly ranked a 4 in 2004, but was downgraded to zero last spring.

Last week, Andrea Mantero of Bernezzo Observatory released a video of the asteroid 2013 TV135:



Although it remains statistically unlikely, if 2013 TV135 were to collide with the Earth, it would create an explosion estimated to be equivalent to 2,500 megatons of TNT – 50 times greater than the biggest nuclear bomb ever detonated.

Credit: RIA Novosti

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