Friday, 10 February 2017

Asteroid 2017 BG30 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2017 BG30 passed by the Earth at a distance of 952 500 km (2.48 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, 0.64% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), at abut 1.25 pm GMT on Sunday 5 February 2017. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented no threat. 2017 BG30 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 2-7 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 2-7 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to explode in an airburst (an explosion caused by superheating from friction with the Earth's atmosphere, which is greater than that caused by simply falling, due to the orbital momentum of the asteroid) in the atmosphere more than 36 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

The calculated orbit of 2017 BG30. Minor Planet Center.

2017 BG30 was discovered on 28 January 2017 (eight days before its closest approach to the Earth) 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 2017 BG30 implies that the asteroid was the 758th object (object G30) discovered in the second half of January 2017 (period 2017 B).

2017 BG30 has a 397 day orbital period and an eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 1.65° to the plane of the Solar System, which takes it from 0.94 AU from the Sun (i.e. 94% of he average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 1.17 AU from the Sun (i.e. 117% of the average distance at which the Earth 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 the asteroid and Earth are extremely common, with the last having occurred in July 2007 and the next predicted in September this year.

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1 comment:

  1. Wow thanks for sharing these! didnt know about these beauties! will be hoping to hop into one soon! Love the color and how well they look on our streets