Thursday, June 15, 2017

Asteroid 2017 LX to Whiz by Earth on Friday


A newly discovered asteroid is slated to whiz by Earth on Friday, June 16. The space rock, designated 2017 LX, will safely miss our planet at 7:56 UTC at a distance of about 2.75 lunar distances (LD), or 1.05 million kilometers.

2017 LX was detected on June 14 by the Mount Lemmon Survey (MLS), which utilizes a 1.52 m cassegrain reflector telescope at Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona. MLS is one of the most prolific surveys when it comes to discovering near-Earth objects (NEOs). So far, it has detected more than 50,000 minor planets.

According to astronomers, 2017 LX is an Apollo-type asteroid with an absolute magnitude of 26.2. The object has an estimated diameter between 11 and 34 meters, and a semi-major axis of approximately 2.58 AU.

Besides 2017 LX, one more asteroid is expected to make a close approach to Earth on June 16. The object, known as 2010 VB1, will pass by our planet at distance of 10.3 LD (3.95 million kilometers). This asteroid is about 80 meters in diameter and will miss the Earth with a velocity of 8.33 km/s.

On June 15, there were 1,803 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) detected, however none of them is on a collision course with our planet. PHAs are asteroids larger than 100 meters that can come closer to Earth than 19.5 LD.

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