Sunday 29 October 2017

Asteroid 2010 VT11 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2010 VT11 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 13 550 000 km (35.3 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 9.06% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly after 7.45 am GMT on Sunday 22 October 2017. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though were it to do so it would have presented a significant threat. 2010 VY11 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 99-310 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 94-300 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be predicted to be capable of passing through the Earth's atmosphere relatively intact, impacting the ground directly with an explosion that would be 176-65 300 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb. Such an impact would result in an impact crater 1-5 km in diameter and devastation on a global scale, as well as climatic effects that would last years or even decades.

The calculated orbit of 2010 VT11. Minor Planet Center.

2010 VT11 was discovered on 2 November 2010 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research Laboratory in Socorro, New Mexico. The designation 2010 VT11 implies that it was the 294th asteroid (asteroid T11) discovered in the first half of November 2010 (period 2010 V).
2010 VT11 has an 849 day orbital period and an eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 2.48° to the plane of the Solar System, which takes it from 0.68 AU from the Sun (i.e. 68% of he average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun and slightly inside the orbit of Venus) to 2.83 AU from the Sun (i.e. 283% 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 the asteroid has occasional close encounters with the planet Earth, with the last thought to have occurred in November 2010 and the next predicted to occur in September 2024. It is also calculated to have occasional close encounters with the planet Venus, with the last thought to have happened in October 2010 and the next predicted for August 2031. As an asteroid probably larger than 150 m in diameter that occasionally comes within 0.05 AU of the Earth, 2017 SN2 is also classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid.
See also...
Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.