Sunday, October 21, 2018

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

Credit: NASA

A house-sized asteroid detected just few days ago, designated 2018 UH1, will pass by the Earth on Wednesday, October 24, at around 5:00 UTC. The space rock is expected to fly by our planet with a relative velocity of about 13 km/s at a safe distance of approximately 5.3 lunar distances (LD), or 2.03 million kilometers.

2018 UH1 was first spotted on October 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.

2018 UH1 is an Apollo-type asteroid with an estimated diameter between 18 and 57 meters. It has an absolute magnitude of 25.1, semimajor axis of 1.76 AU and orbits the sun every 2.34 years.

Besides the upcoming close approach to Earth, 2018 UH1 is also expected to fly by Venus on December 2, 2018, at approximately 53 LD (20.3 million kilometers) from it. No future fly-bys of this asteroid to our planet are currently predicted by astronomers.

On October 21, there were 1,936 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 nearly 19,000 NEOs. Only this month 136 such objects were detected.

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