Thursday, 7 August 2014

Asteroid 2014 OG1 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 OG1 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 10 190 000 km (26.5 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 6.8% of the average distance between the Earth an the Sun), slightly after 3.20 pm GMT on Friday 1 August 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though were it to do so it would have presented a serious threat. 2014 OG1 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 90-280 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 90-280 m in diameter), and an object towards the upper end of this range would be predicted to be capable of passing through the Earth's atmosphere relatively intact, impacting the ground with an energy equivalent to about 1000 megatons of TNT (roughly 59 000 times the energy of the Hiroshima bomb). Such an event would result in a crater about 4 km across, cause devastation on a wide scale and would have the potential to affect the climate globally for years after the impact event.

The calculated orbit of 2014 OG1. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2014 OG1 was discovered on 21 July 2014 (ten days before its closest approach to the Earth) by the Observatorio Astronómico de Mallorca. The designation 2014 OG1 implies that it was the 32nd asteroid (asteroid G1) discovered in the second half of July 2014 (period 2014 O).

2014 OG1 has a 568 day year orbital period and an eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 18° to the plane of the Solar System, which takes it from 0.42 AU from the Sun (i.e. 42 % of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, slightly outside the orbit of Venus) to 2.26 AU from the Sun (i.e. 281% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, considerably outside the orbit of Mars). 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 means that close encounters between the asteroid and Earth are fairly common, with the last thought to have happened in March 2010 and the next predicted in March 2024.

See also...


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