Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Asteroid 2020 DV3 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2020 DV3 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 407 000 km (1.06 times the average  distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 0.27% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 7.15 am GMT on Tuesday 25 February 2020. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though were it to do so it would not have presented a significant threat. 2020 DV3 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 5-17 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 5-17 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 between 40 and 25 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's  surface.

 The calculated orbit of 2020 DV3. JPL Small Body Database.

2020 DV3 was discovered on 27 February 2020 (two days after 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 2020 DV3 implies that it was the 93rd asteroid (object V3 - in numbering asteroids the letters A-Y, excluding I, are assigned numbers from 1 to 24, so that V3 = (24 x 3) + 21 = 93) discovered in the second half of February 2020 (period 2020 D).

2020 DV3 has an 568 day (1.80 year) orbital period and an eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 1.09° to the plane of the Solar System, which takes it from 0.79 AU from the Sun (i.e. 79% of the the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 2.18 AU from the Sun (i.e. 218% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, and further from from the Sun than the planet 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 having occurred in February 2011 and the next predicted in March 2029. 2020 DV3 also has occasional close encounters with the planet Mars, with the next predicted for May 2029.

See also...

https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2020/03/fireball-over-slovenia.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2020/02/asteroid-2020-dd3-passes-earth.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2020/02/asteroid-2020-da1-passes-earth.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2020/02/comet-c2019-k1-atlas-makes-its-closest.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2020/02/asteroid-2020-cg2-passes-earth.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2020/02/asteroid-2020-du-passes-earth.html
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