Sunday, September 23, 2018

Newly Discovered Asteroid 2018 RQ1 to Miss Earth on Monday

Credit: NASA

A newly detected asteroid, designated 2018 RQ1, is expected to make a close approach to Earth on Monday, September 24, at around 22:57 UTC. The space rock will fly by our planet with a relative velocity of 3.1 km/s at a distance of about 4.01 lunar distances (LD), or 1.54 million kilometers.

2018 RQ1 is an Aten-type asteroid detected on September 7, 2018 by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS). CSS is a project to discover comets and asteroids, and to search for near-Earth objects (NEOs), based at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab in Tucson, Arizona.

Astronomers estimate that 2018 RQ1 is about 28-90 meters in diameter. The asteroid has an absolute magnitude of 24.1, a semimajor axis of about 0.87 AU and it takes it approximately 300 days to fully orbit the sun. 

Besides close approach to Earth, 2018 RQ1 will also fly by the Moon on the same day at 1:54 UTC at a distance of 3.59 LD, or 1.39 million kilometers. Next fly-by of this asteroid to our planet is expected to take place on March 26, 2023 when it will pass at a much larger distance of approximately 102 LD (77 million kilometers). 

On September 23, there were nearly 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. 

To date, astronomers have discovered more than 18,800 NEOs. Only this month 161 such objects were detected.

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