Asteroid 2020 VG4 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 794 400 km (2.07 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 0.53% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly after 5.10 am GMT on Tuesday 17 November 2020. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though were it to do so it would not have presented a significant threat. 2020 VG4 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 4-12 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 4-12 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to explode in an airburst (an explosion caused by superheating from friction with the Earth's atmosphere, which is greater than that caused by simply falling, due to the orbital momentum of the asteroid) between 43 and 30 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.
2020 VG4 was discovered on 12 November 2020 (five days before its closest approach to the Earth) by the University of Arizona's Mt. Lemmon Survey at the Steward Observatory on Mount Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. The designation 2020 VG4 implies that the asteroid was the 107th object (asteroid T3 - in numbering asteroids the letters A-Z excluding I, are assigned numbers from 1 to 25, with a number added to the end each time the alphabet is ended, so that A = 1, A1 = 26, A2 = 51, etc., which means that G4 = (25 x 4) + 7 = 107) discovered in the first half of November 2020 (period 2020 V - the year being split into 24 half-months represented by the letters A-Y, with I being excluded).
2020 VG4 has a 771 day (2.11 year) orbital period, with an elliptical orbit tilted at an angle of 6.83° to the plain of the Solar System which takes in to 0.95 AU from the Sun (95% of the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) and out to 2.34 AU (234% of the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, and more than the distance at which the planet Mars orbits the Sun). It is therefore classed as an Apollo Group Asteroid (an asteroid that is on average further from the Sun than the Earth, but which does get closer). This is thought to have been the first close encounter between 2020 VG4 and the Earth, with another such encounter predicted in February 2022, after which no further similar events are anticipated.
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