Monday, March 26, 2018

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid to Fly By Earth on Tuesday

A potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA), designated 2018 DH1, is expected to fly by Earth on Tuesday, March 27 at around 10:18 UTC. The space rock will miss our planet with a relative velocity of 14.4 km/s at a safe distance of about 9.18 lunar distances (LD), what corresponds to 3.5 million kilometers.

2018 DH1 is an Apollo-type asteroid discovered February 22, 2018 by the Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO) in China. Established in 1934, PMO has so far detected several hundreds minor planets.

According to observations, 2018 DH1 has an estimated diameter between 120 and 380 meters. The object has an absolute magnitude of 21, a semimajor axis of approximately 2.1 AU and it takes it about three years to fully orbit the Sun.

Tuesday’s fly-by of 2018 DH1 will be the second known close approach of this asteroid to Earth. Previous fly-by took place on March 12, 2015, when it passed our planet at a distance of approximately 92 LD (35.3 million kilometers). No future close approaches of this near-Earth object (NEO) to Earth are currently expected by astronomers.

On March 26, there were 1,882 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 18,000 NEOs. Since the beginning of this year, 473 such objects were detected.

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