Sunday, November 4, 2018

Newly Discovered Potentially Hazardous Asteroid to Pass by Earth on Monday

Credit: NASA

A newly detected potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA), designated 2018 TF3, will pass by the Earth on Monday, November 5, at around 18:00 UTC. The object is expected to fly by our planet with a velocity of 20.6 km/s at a safe distance of about 7.77 lunar distances (LD), or 2.98 million kilometers.

2018 TF3 is an Apollo-type asteroid first spotted on October 6 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 TF3 has an estimated diameter between 160 and 490 meters. It has an absolute magnitude of 20.4, a semimajor axis of about 2.13 AU, and orbits the sun approximately every 3.12 years.

2018 TF3 is also expected to fly by Venus on December 11, 2018, at a distance of around 40 LD (15.4 million kilometers). Next close approach of this asteroid to Earth will take place on February 9, 2022, when it will miss our planet at a distance of some 150 LD (57.6 million kilometers).

On November 4, there were about 1,936 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 (7.5 million kilometers).

To date, astronomers have discovered more than 19,000 NEOs. Only this month 20 such objects were detected.


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