Friday, 2 May 2014

Asteroid 2014 HF5 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 HF5 passed by the Earth at a distance of 5 662 000 km (a little under 15 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon) slightly after 6.10 pm GMT on Friday 25 April 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented only a very limited threat. 2014 HF5 is calculated to have an equivalent diameter of 16-52 m (that is to say a spherical object with the same volume would be 16-52 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the Earth's atmosphere between 26 km and 8 km above the Earth's surface, with only fragmentary material reaching the ground, though being directly under an object towards the upper end of this range would probably be fairly unpleasant.

The calculated orbit of 2014 HF5. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2014 HF5 was discovered on 24 April 2014 (the day before its closest approach to the Earth) by the University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey, which is located in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. The designation 2014 HF5 implies that it was the 131st asteroid (asteroid F5) discovered in the second half of April 2014 (period 2014 H).

While 2014 HF5 occasionally comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical 956 day orbit, that takes it from 1.04 AU from the Sun (1.04 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun), slightly outside our orbit, to 2.75 AU from the Sun, (2.75 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, considerably more than the distance at which the planet Mars orbits the Sun). 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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