Monday, January 1, 2018

Truck-Sized Asteroid 2017 YD7 to Fly By Earth on Wednesday


A newly discovered truck-sized asteroid, designated 2017 YD7 is expected to pass by Earth on Wednesday, January 3 at 0:40 UTC. The space rock will miss our planet at an estimated distance of 4.7 lunar distances (LD), or 1.8 million kilometers.

2017 YD7 is an Apollo-type asteroid and has an estimated diameter between 6 and 21 meters. The object was first spotted on December 28, 2017 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.

Astronomers reveal that 2017 YD7 has an absolute magnitude of 27.3. The asteroid has a semimajor axis of 1.27 AU and an orbital period of approximately 1.44 years. On Wednesday, this object will whiz by the Earth with a relative velocity of 10.5 km/s.

Next close approach of 2017 YD7 is expected to take place in the next century, on June 16, 2155. On that day, it will fly by our planet at a distance of about 70 LD (26.9 million kilometers) with a relative velocity of 15.5 km/s.

On January 1, there were 1,872 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.

To date, astronomers have discovered more than 17,500 NEOs. Only in December 2017, nearly 2,100 such objects were detected.

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