Sunday 7 July 2013

Asteroid 2013 NH4 passes by the Earth.

Asteroid 2013 NH4 was discovered by the Pan-STARRS telescope at the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy on Tuesday 2 July 2013, at about 8.10 am GMT (the name 2013 NH4 implies the 108th object discovered in the first two weeks of July 2013), and passed by the Earth at a closest distance of 1 665 000 km (4.34 times the distance to the Moon) on Saturday July 6, at about 5.13 am GMT. The asteroid is calculated to have an elliptical 4.15 year orbit that takes it out to 4.28 AU from the Sun (i.e. 4.2 times as far from the Sun as the Earth), which is in the Main Asteroid Belt, but not as far out as Jupiter. 2013 NH4 is expected to pass by the Earth again in 2114, though on that occasion it will only reach 8 663 000 km from the Earth. At 30 m across 2013 NH does not present any threat to us, and should it collide with us at some point in the future it would not be likely to make it through the atmosphere intact.

The orbit and current position of 2013 NH4. Image created using the JPL Small Body Database Browser.

See also Ancient meteorite found in Minnesota fieldImaging near-Earth asteroid (162421) 2000 ET70,  Asteroid 2013 LR6 passes between the Earth and the MoonThe Arietid Meteors and The Main-Belt Comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS).

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