Thursday, November 9, 2017

Football Field-Sized Asteroid to Fly By Earth on Friday

A newly-discovered football field-sized asteroid, designated 2017 VC, is slated to pass by Earth on Friday, November 10, at a safe distance of about 9.9 lunar distances (LD), or 3.8 million kilometers. The space rock will fly by our planet at 22:57 UTC with a relative velocity of 7.3 km/s.

The Apollo-type asteroid 2017 VC was first spotted on November 2 by astronomers using 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.

2017 VC has an estimated diameter between 47 and 150 meters, and an absolute magnitude of 23. It orbits the sun every 2.41 years at a distance of approximately 1.8 AU.

Last year, on June 24, asteroid 2017 VC made a close approach to Mars, passing by the Red Planet at a distance of 38 LD. On March 27, 2027, it will again miss the Earth, this time at about 100 LD.

On November 9, there were 1,853 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.

To date, astronomers have discovered more than 17,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs). Only this month, five new objects were detected.


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