Sunday, August 20, 2017

Two Newly Discovered Asteroids to Whiz by Earth on Tuesday


Two space rocks detected this week are slated to pass by our planet on Tuesday, Aug. 22. The newly found asteroids, designated 2017 PV25 and 2017 QT1, are expected to miss the Earth at a distance of 5.5 lunar distances (LD) and 2.6 LD respectively (or 2.1 and 1 million kilometers).

2017 PV25 is an Apollo-type asteroid discovered Aug. 15 by the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) at the Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO), 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 PV25 has an absolute magnitude of 24.7 and a diameter between 23 and 71 meters. This near-Earth object (NEO) has a semimajor axis of about 1.06 AU and it takes it approximately one year and one month to fully orbit the sun. The space rock will miss our planet at 16:16 UTC with a relative velocity of 6.46 km/s.

2017 QT1 is also an Apollo-type asteroid, first spotted on Aug. 17 using 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.

2017 QT1 is expected to pass by our planet at 18:24 UTC with a relative velocity of 20.6 km/s. The asteroid has an absolute magnitude of 26.7 and a diameter between 8 and 27 meters. This NEO has a semimajor axis of about 2.55 AU and an orbital period of approximately four years.

On Aug. 20, 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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