Sunday, April 15, 2018

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid to Pass by Earth on Friday

A potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA), designated 2016 JP, will pass by the Earth on Friday, April 20 at around 22:36 UTC. The object is expected to fly by our planet with a velocity of 12.7 km/s at a safe distance of about 11.96 lunar distances (LD), or 4.59 million kilometers.

2016 JP is an Aten-type asteroid first observed May 2, 2016 by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS). CSS is a project to discover comets and asteroids, and to search for near-Earth objects (NEOs), based at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab in Tucson, Arizona.

According to astronomers, 2016 JP has an estimated diameter between 110 and 360 meters. It has an absolute magnitude of 21.1, a semimajor axis of almost 1 AU, and orbits the sun every 362 days.

Next close approach of asteroid 2016 JP is expected next year, on April 19 at about 11:13 UTC. On that day, it will fly by the Earth at a distance of approximately 19 LD, what corresponds to 7.3 million kilometers.

On April 14, there were about 1,900 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 18,000 NEOs. Only this month 53 such objects were detected.

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