Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Small Asteroid to Swoosh by Earth on Thursday


A newly discovered near-Earth object (NEO), known as 2017 TD6, is slated to pass by our planet on Thursday, October 19 at 18:52 UTC. The asteroid will miss the Earth at a distance of about 0.5 lunar distances (LD), what corresponds to 192,000 kilometers.

2017 TD6 was first observed on October 11, 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.

2017 TD6 is an Apollo-type asteroid with an estimated diameter of about 13 meters and absolute magnitude of 27.5. The object has a semimajor axis of 1.15 AU and an orbital period of 1.24 years. On Thursday, it will whiz by Earth with a relative velocity of 9.2 km/s.

One day later, the asteroid will fly by the Moon at 7:06 UTC at a distance of approximately 0.3 LD (115,000 kilometers). This space rock is also expected to make a close approach to Venus on June 24, 2024 at about 36 LD (13.8 million kilometers).

On October 18, there were 1,847 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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