Sunday, December 2, 2018

Newly Discovered Truck-Sized Asteroid to Pass by Earth on Tuesday

Credit: NASA

A newly spotted truck-sized asteroid, known as 2018 WD2, will fly by Earth on Tuesday, December 4, at around 21:13 UTC. The near-Earth object (NEO) is expected to pass by our planet with a relative velocity of 7.6 km/s, at a safe distance of about 3.4 lunar distances (LD), what corresponds to 1.3 million kilometers.

2018 WD2 is an Apollo-type asteroid first observed on November 29, 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 NEOs. So far, it has detected more than 50,000 minor planets.

2018 WD has an absolute magnitude of 26.1 and an estimated size of 11-36 meters. The asteroid has a semimajor axis of 2.04 AU and an orbital period of nearly three years.

Next close approach of 2018 WD to Earth will occur on October 22, 2021. On that day, the object is expected to pass by our planet at a much larger distance of approximately 170 LD (65.3 million kilometers).

On December 2, there were nearly 2,000 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 (7.5 million kilometers).

To date, astronomers have discovered more than 19,200 NEOs. Only since the beginning of the year, 1,830 such objects have been detected.

1 comment:

  1. Outer space has many secrets and many we have not found as of yet, telescopes are needed and we need more with better technology to collect better information on what is out there as there is a potential for an object such as this to actually pose a threat and as Space being so large we cannot see enough of it to have better warning and earlier warning of such situations. More telescopes, and being here in Hawaii and locals wishing for the U.S. to desist on building here on Mauna Kea, ( I understand this and agree to some extent on our heritage lands and the U.S. need to listen more and compromise greater for a doable project,) but we need much more, world wide. Aloha

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