Sunday, May 12, 2019

Newly Discovered House-sized Asteroid 2019 JK3 to Fly By Earth on Monday

Credit: Theskylive.com

A newly detected house-sized asteroid, designated 2019 JK3, is expected to fly by the Earth on Monday, May 13, at around 21:59 UTC. The space rock will miss our planet with a velocity of approximately 10.7 km/s at a safe distance of about 3.15 lunar distances (LD), or 1.21 million kilometers.

2019 JK3 is an Apollo-type asteroid first spotted on May 8 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.

According to astronomers, 2019 JK3 has a diameter between 9 and 28 meters. The object has an absolute magnitude of 26.6 and a semimajor axis of about 2.22 AU. It orbits the sun approximately every 3.32 years (1,211 days).

Prior to the Monday’s fly-by of Earth, 2019 JK3 will also make a close approach to the moon on the same day, at around 16:45 UTC. It will miss the moon at a distance of about 3.04 LD from it (1.17 million kilometers).

No future fly-bys of this asteroid to our planet are currently predicted by astronomers.

On May 12, 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 20,200 NEOs. Only this month, 59 such objects have been detected.

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