Monday, October 30, 2017

Newly Discovered House-Sized Asteroid Passes by Earth

A house-sized asteroid named 2017 UA6 missed the Earth on Sunday, October 29 at a safe distance of about 4 lunar distances (LD), what corresponds to 1.54 million kilometers. The object flew by our planet at approximately 4:17 UTC with a relative velocity of 15 km/s.

2017 UA6 was first observed on October 24, 2017 by the Mount Lemmon Survey (MLS), which utilizes a 1.52 m cassegrain reflector telescope at Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona. MLS is one of the most prolific surveys when it comes to discovering near-Earth objects (NEOs). So far, it has detected more than 50,000 minor planets.

Astronomers reveal that 2017 UA6 is an Apollo-type asteroid with an absolute magnitude of 25.7 and an estimated diameter between 14 and 43 meters. The object has a semimajor axis of 2.56 AU and orbits the sun every 4.1 years.

2017 UA6 also missed the Moon on Sunday at a distance of about 3.2 LD, or 1.23 million kilometers. Two years later, on December 25, 2019, this asteroid is slated to fly by Jupiter at approximately 360 LD (138 million kilometers).

Currently, there are 1,849 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) detected, however 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.

1 comment:

  1. This Asteroid, like a lot of other Asteroids, was only discovered a few days before it was it flew by. I find this a bit disconcerting when this happens.