Monday, January 22, 2018

Newly Discovered House-Sized Asteroid 2018 BA3 to Fly By Earth on Wednesday

A newly detected house-sized asteroid, known as 2018 BA3, is slated to swoosh by Earth on Wednesday, January 24 at 21:41 UTC. The space rock will miss our planet at a distance of about 3 lunar distances (LD), or 1.15 million kilometers, with a relative velocity of 8 km/s.

2018 BA3 was first observed on January 18, 2018 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 2018 BA3 is an Apollo-type asteroid with an absolute magnitude of 26.1 and an estimated diameter between 11 and 34 meters. The object has a semimajor axis of 2.09 AU and orbits the sun every 3.03 years.

2018 BA3 is also slated to fly by the Moon on Wednesday at 15:19 UTC at a distance of about 3.58 LD, what corresponds to 1.37 million kilometers.

No more future close approaches of this asteroid to Earth or the Moon are currently expected by astronomers.

On January 22, there were 1,882 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.

To date, astronomers have discovered more than 17,600 NEOs. Since the beginning of this year, 107 such objects were detected.

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