Tuesday, April 10, 2018

House-Sized Asteroid to Fly By Earth on Wednesday

Orbital path of asteroid 2018 GG. Credit: NASA/JPL

A house-sized asteroid, designated 2018 GG, is expected to make close approach to Earth on Wednesday, April 11 at around 21:59 UTC. The space rock will miss our planet with a relative velocity of 13.9 km/s at a safe distance of about 4.68 lunar distances (LD), what corresponds to approximately 1.8 million kilometers.

2018 GG is an Apollo-type asteroid detected on April 6, 2018 by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS). CSS is a project to discover comets and asteroids, and to search for NEOs, based at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab in Tucson, Arizona.

According to observations, 2018 GG has an estimated diameter between 23 and 71 meters. The object has an absolute magnitude of 24.6 and orbits the sun every 3.2 years at a distance of about 2.17 AU.

No future close approaches of 2018 GG to Earth are currently predicted by astronomers.

On April 10, there were almost 2,000 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 18,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs). Only this year nearly 500 such objects were identified.

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