Thursday, 28 August 2014

Asteroid 2014 OO394 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 OO392 passed by the Earth at a distance of 16 810 000 km (43.74 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 11% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 4.40 pm GMT on Friday 22 August 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented only a moderate threat. 2014 OO392 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 24-75 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 24-75 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 20 and 1.5 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface, although being directly beneath an object towards the upper end of this range would probably be quite unpleasant, as it would be expected to explode with the energy equivalent to about 20 megatons of TNT (over a thousand times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb).

The calculated orbit of 2014 OO392. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2014 OO392 was discovered on 30 July 2014 (23 days before its closest approach to the Earth) by the University of Hawaii's PANSTARRS telescope on Mount Haleakala on Maui. The designation 2014 OO392 implies that it was the 9814th asteroid (asteroid O392) discovered in the second half of July 2014 (period 2014 O).

While 2014 OO392 occasionally comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical 1280 day orbit, at an angle of 7.9° to the plane of the Solar System, that takes it from 1.09 AU from the Sun (1.09 times the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun), slightly outside our orbit, to 3.53 AU from the Sun, (3.53 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, considerably more than twice the average 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. 

See also...


Comet C/2012 K1 (PANSTARRS) will reach its perihelion (the closest point on its orbit to the Sun)  on Wednesday 27 August 2014, though it will not be visible until the end of September, when it will...



Asteroid 2014 OO6 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 4 451 000 km (11.58 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 3% of the average distance between the Earth an the...



Asteroid (285944) 2001 RZ11 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 13 150 000 km (34.21 times the average distance between...

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