Saturday, January 26, 2019

Newly Discovered House-Sized Asteroid 2019 AA10 Flies By Earth

Credit: NASA

A newly discovered house-sized asteroid, known as 2019 AA10, flew by the Earth on Saturday, January 26, at approximately 4:49 UTC. The space rock passed by our planet at a distance of around 5.7 lunar distances (LD), or 2.19 million kilometers.

2019 AA10 is an Apollo-type asteroid detected January 11 by the Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1) telescope at the summit of Haleakala on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) is an astronomical survey consisting of astronomical cameras, telescopes and a computing facility, surveying the sky for moving objects on a continual basis.

According to astronomers, 2019 AA10 has an estimated diameter between 16 and 49 meters. The object has an absolute magnitude of 25.4, and orbits the sun every 890 days at a distance of some 1.82 AU from it.

During the January 26 fly-by, 2019 AA10 missed the Earth with a velocity of about 10.2 km/s. No future close approaches of this asteroid to our planet are currently predicted by astronomers.

Astronomers have discovered nearly 19,600 near-Earth objects (NEOs) so far. Only this month, 198 such objects have been detected.

On January 26, there were about 2,000 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).

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