Thursday, September 13, 2018

Newly Detected Small Asteroid Passes by Earth

A newly discovered small asteroid known as 2018 RE3, flew by the Earth on Thursday, September 13 at around 12:44 UTC. The object passed by our planet with a relative velocity of 10.3 km/s at a distance of approximately 1.8 lunar distances (LD), or 691,000 kilometers.

2018 RE3 is an Apollo-type asteroid detected on September 9 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, 2018 RE3 has an estimated diameter of about 13 meters and an absolute magnitude of 27.3. The object orbits the sun in approximately one and a half years at a distance of some 1.32 AU from it.

Besides Thursday’s fly-by of Earth, 2018 RE3 also made a close approach to the Moon on that day at around 17:11 UTC. The space rock missed the Moon at a distance of about 1.5 LD (576,000 kilometers).

On September 13, there were about 1,923 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 18,700 NEOs. Only this month 71 such objects were detected.

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