Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Asteroid 2014 QL365 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 QL365 passed by the Earth at a distance of 2 123 000 km (5.52 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 1.4% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly after 2.10 pm GMT on Monday 1 September 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented only a minor threat. 2014 QL365 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 7-23 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 7-23 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 36 and 20 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

The calculated orbit of 2014 QL365. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2014 QL365 was discovered on 31 August 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 QL365 implies that it was the 9136th asteroid (asteroid L365) discovered in the second half of August 2014 (period 2014 Q).

2014 QL365 has a 700 day year orbital period and an eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 8.5° to the plane of the Solar System, which takes it from 0.98 AU from the Sun (i.e. 98% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 2.10 AU from the Sun (i.e. 210% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, considerably more than the distance at which the planet Mars orbits the Sun). 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 2014 QL365 and the Earth are fairly common, with the last thought to have occurred in November 2012 next one predicted for November 2060. The asteroid also has fairly frequent close encounters with the planet Mars, with the last thought to have occurred in October 1951, and the next predicted for December 2043.

See also...


The New Horizons Spacecraft was launched in January 2006, and is due to pass through the Pluto System (Pluto is now recognized to be a cluster of at least six objects rather than a single large body) in July 2015. After this it is hoped that New Horizons will be able to adjust its path in order to visit one of the smaller bodies...




Asteroid 12 Victoria will reach opposition (i.e. will be directly opposite the Sun seen from Earth) at 0.07 am (seven minutes past midnight) GMT on Tuesday 9...



Asteroid 2013 ND15 was discovered on 13 July 2013 by Natalia Primak, Alfred Schultz, Thomas Goggia and Ken Chambers working at the Pan-STARRS 1 project...


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