Saturday, 19 October 2013

Asteroid 2013 TQ135 flies past the Earth.

The asteroid 2013 TQ 135 flew past the Earth at a distance of 8 795 000 km (slightly less than 23 times as distant as the Moon) slightly before 4.10 pm GMT on Saturday 12 October 2013. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, and if it had of done it would have presented only a mild hazard; 2013 TQ135 is estimated to be between 20 and 62 m in diameter, and an object this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 5 and 22 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the planet's surface.

The approximate orbit of 2013 TQ135. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2013 TQ135 was discovered on 12 October 2013 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 2013 TQ135 implies the 3391st object discovered in the first half of October 2013 (period 2013 T).

While 2013 TQ135 occasionally comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical 424 day orbit that takes it from 1.01 AU from the Sun (1.01 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun), slightly outside our orbit to 1.19 AU from the Sun, so that it always remains outside the Earth's orbit but considerably inside that of Mars, so unless an encounter with another body causes it's orbital path to alter in a very specific way (highly unlikely) there is no chance of it hitting the Earth. As a Near Earth Object that remains strictly outside the orbit of the Earth it is classed as an Amor Family Asteroid.


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