Monday, July 24, 2017

Newly Discovered Asteroid 2017 OM1 to Whiz by Earth on Tuesday

A newly discovered asteroid, designated 2017 OM1, is about to give Earth a close shave on Tuesday, July 25, flying by our planet at a distance of approximately 2.3 lunar distances (LD), or 883,000 kilometers. The space rock will whiz by Earth at 11:41 UTC with a relative velocity of 15.9 km/s.

2017 OM1 was first spotted just few days ago, on Saturday, July 22, by the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) at the Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO), Hawaii. It is an astronomical survey system for detection of dangerous asteroids a few weeks to days before their close approaches to Earth.

Astronomers reveal that 2017 OM1 is an Aten-type asteroid with an absolute magnitude of 23.3 and a diameter between 39 and 120 meters. This near-Earth object (NEO) has a semimajor axis of almost 1.0 AU and it takes it approximately one year to fully orbit the sun.

2017 OM1 is not the only asteroid that will fly by Earth on July 25. A near-Earth object known as 2017 OE1 will make a close approach to our planet some nine hours after the fly-by of 2017 OM1. However, 2017 OE1 will pass by Earth at a much larger distance - approximately 8.6 LD (3.3 million kilometers). This NEO was discovered on July 20 and has a diameter between 24 and 75 meters.

On July 24, there were 1,803 potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) detected to date. PHAs are space rocks larger than approximately 100 meters that can come closer to Earth than 19.5 LD. However, none of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet.

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