Sunday, May 14, 2017

Recently Discovered Asteroid 2017 JM2 to Zip by Earth

A newly discovered asteroid is slated to fly past Earth safely on Monday, May 15. The space rock, designated 2017 JM2, will miss our planet at 3:49 UTC at a safe distance of about 5.1 lunar distances (LD), or 1.96 million kilometers.

Asteroid 2017 JM2 was detected by Mount Lemmon Survey (MLS) on May 5, 2017. The survey utilizes a 1.52-meter cassegrain reflector telescope operated by the Steward Observatory at Mount Lemmon Observatory, located in the Santa Catalina Mountains northeast of Tucson, Arizona. MLS is currently one of the most prolific surveys worldwide, especially for discovering near-Earth objects (NEOs).

According to astronomers, 2017 JM2 has an absolute magnitude of 24.2 and a diameter between 29 and 90 meters. The asteroid will fly by Earth with a velocity of approximately 14.7 km/s. Its next close approach to our planet is expected to take place on May 2, 2021, when it will miss the Earth at a much greater distance of about 37.5 million kilometers.

2017 JM2’s pass on Monday is the fifth significant flyby of an asteroid in May. Last close approach occurred on May 12 when a 39-meter-wide NEO designated 2017 JA2 passed by Earth at 2.6 LD (998,000 kilometers). 

On May 14, there were 1,801 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) detected and 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.

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