Sunday, May 27, 2018

Large Potentially Hazardous Asteroid to Fly By Earth on Tuesday

Credit: NASA

A potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA), estimated to be about 400 meters in size, will pass by the Earth on Tuesday, May 29 at around 2:46 UTC. The space rock, designated 2001 KB67, is expected to miss our planet with a relative velocity of 13.3 km/s at a distance of approximately 9.5 lunar distances (LD), what corresponds to 3.65 million kilometers.

2001 KB67 is an Aten-type asteroid discovered on May 30, 2001 as part of the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project. LINEAR is an MIT Lincoln Laboratory program funded by the United States Air Force and NASA, dedicated for the systematic detection and tracking of near-Earth objects (NEOs). 

According to astronomers 2001 KB67 has an absolute magnitude of 19.8. The asteroid orbits the Sun every 345 days at a distance of approximately 0.96 AU. 

Next close approach of 2001 KB67 is expected on April 8, 2019, when it will pass by the Earth at a much larger distance of 147 LD (56.5 million kilometers). 

On May 25, there were 1,912 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 nearly 18,300 NEOs. Since the beginning of this year, 735 such objects were detected.

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