Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Newly Detected House-Sized Asteroid to Pass by Earth on Wednesday

A newly discovered house-sized near-Earth object (NEO) is expected to fly by our planet on Wednesday, Aug. 16. The space rock, designated 2017 PD25, will miss the Earth at 3:45 UTC at a safe distance of about 9.6 lunar distances (LD), or 3.7 million kilometers with a relative velocity of 7.87 km/s.

2017 PD25 was discovered Aug. 12 by the Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1) 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.

Astronomers reveal that 2017 PD25 has an absolute magnitude of 25.3 and a diameter between 16 and 52 meters. The asteroid has an orbital period of 3.26 years and a semimajor axis of 2.2 AU.

Besides the close approach on Wednesday, no other fly-bys of this asteroid are known at the moment.

There are 1,803 potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) discovered 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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