Sunday, August 27, 2017

Small Asteroid Flew by Earth Yesterday


A newly discovered small asteroid flew by Earth on Saturday, August 26, passing by our planet at a distance of approximately 1 lunar distance (LD), or 384,000 kilometers. The near-Earth object (NEO), designated 2017 QQ17, missed the Earth at 4:23 UTC with a relative velocity of 21.17 km/s.

2017 QQ17 was first spotted August 23, 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1) telescope at the summit of Haleakala on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) is an astronomical survey consisting of astronomical cameras, telescopes and a computing facility, surveying the sky for moving objects on a continual basis.

The asteroid has an absolute magnitude of 28.1 and an estimated diameter between 4 and 14 meters. The space rock has a semimajor axis of 2.46 AU and orbits the sun every 3.87 years.

Besides the close approach to Earth on Saturday, 2017 QQ17 also flew by the moon that day at 6:58 UTC at a distance of 1 LD (384,000 kilometers). The asteroid is expected to pass by Jupiter on November 19, 2030 at a distance of about 1.95 AU.

On August 27, there were 1,803 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) detected and 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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