Thursday, July 20, 2017

Asteroid 2017 BS5 to Pass by Earth on Sunday


An asteroid discovered in January is about to give Earth a close shave on Sunday, July 23. The object, designated 2017 BS5, will pass by our planet at 19:17 UTC at a safe distance of approximately 3.1 lunar distances (LD), or 1.19 million kilometers.

2017 BS5 was first observed on January 25, 2017 using the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) at Haleakala Observatory, Hawaii. It is an astronomical survey system for detection of dangerous asteroids a few weeks to days before their close approaches to Earth.

According to astronomers, 2017 BS5 is an Amor-type asteroid with an absolute magnitude of 24.1 and an estimated diameter between 28 and 90 meters. The object has a semimajor axis of about 1.0 AU and it takes it one year to fully orbit the sun. On Sunday, it will fly by our planet with a relative velocity of 5.8 km/s.

In the coming years 2017 BS5 will make close approaches to Earth twice a year. The next fly-by of this asteroid is expected to take place on January 17, 2018 when it will pass by our planet at a distance of approximately 41 LD.

Currently, there are 1,803 potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) detected to date. PHAs are space rocks larger than approximately 100 meters that can come closer to Earth than 19.5 LD. However, none of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet.

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