Sunday, April 29, 2018

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 2013 US3 Passes by Earth

Credit: NASA/JPL

A potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA), designated 2013 US3, safely flew by Earth on Sunday, April 29 at 10:29 UTC. The object passed by our planet with a velocity of 7.7 km/s at a distance of about 10.08 lunar distances (LD), what corresponds to 3.87 million kilometers.

2013 US3 is an Apollo-type asteroid discovered on October 24, 2013 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.

According to observations, 2013 US3 has an absolute magnitude of 21.3 and an estimated diameter between 100 and 330 meters. The space rock orbits the Sun every 480 days at a distance of approximately 1.42 AU from it.

Next approach of this asteroid to Earth is expected on March 12, 2022, when it will pass by our planet at a distance of around 100 LD (38 million kilometers).

On April 29, there were 1,907 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). Since the beginning of this year, 627 such objects were detected.

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