Sunday, 8 March 2020

Asteroid 2020 EG passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2020 EG passed by the Earth at a distance of about 1 040 000 km (2.71 times the average  distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 0.69% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 4.35 pm GMT on Sunday 1 March 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 EG 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 2020 EG. JPL Small Body Database.

2020 EG was discovered on 5 March 2020 (four days after its closest encounter with 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 2020 EG implies that the asteroid was the seventh object (asteroid G - in numbering asteroids the letters A-Y, excluding I, are assigned numbers from 1 to 24, with a number added to the end each time the alphabet is ended, so that A = 1, A1 = 25, A2 = 49, etc, so that G= 7) discovered in the first half of March 2020 (period 2020 E).

2020 EG has a 495 day orbital period and an eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 2.28° to the plane of the Solar System, which takes it from 0.98 AU from the Sun (i.e. 98% of he average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 1.47 AU from the Sun (i.e. 147% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, and slightly inside the orbit of 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).

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2020/03/asteroid-2020-dv3-passes-earth.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2020/03/fireball-over-slovenia.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2020/02/asteroid-2020-dd3-passes-earth.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2020/02/asteroid-2020-da1-passes-earth.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2020/02/comet-c2019-k1-atlas-makes-its-closest.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2020/02/asteroid-2020-cg2-passes-earth.html
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