Sunday, July 29, 2018

Newly Discovered Asteroid to Fly By Earth on August 6

Credit: NASA

A newly detected asteroid, known as 2018 OZ, will fly by the Earth on Monday, August 6 at around 12:11 UTC. The space rock will miss our planet with a relative velocity of 9.6 km/s at a safe distance of about 6.97 lunar distances (LD), or 2.68 million kilometers.

2018 OZ is an Apollo-type asteroid discovered July 22, 2018 by the Pan-STARRS 2 (PS2) 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.

According to astronomers, 2018 OZ has an absolute magnitude of 25.0. The near-Earth object (NEO) has an estimated diameter between 19 and 59 meters, a semimajor axis of 1.03 AU and orbits the Sun every 384 days. 

The asteroid’s next fly-by to Earth is expected on July 10, 2019, when it will pass at a much larger distance of approximately 101 LD (38.8 million kilometers).

To date, astronomers have discovered more than 18,500 NEOs. Only this month 82 such objects were detected.

On July 29, there were almost 2,000 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) detected and none of them is on a collision course with our planet. PHAs are asteroids larger than 330 feet (100 meters) that can come closer to Earth than 19.5 LD.

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