Monday 21 October 2013

Asteroid 2013 TF 135 passes by the Earth.

Asteroid 2013 TF135 passed the Earth at a distance of 8 241 000 km (over 21 times the distance between Earth and the Moon) at about 7.30 am GMT on Tuesday 15 October 2013. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, and if it had of done so it would have presented only a minor hazard; 2013 TF135 is calculated to be between 16 and 49 m in diameter, and an object of this size would be predicted to break up in the atmosphere between 26 and 9 km above the ground.

The calculated orbit of TF135. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2013 TF135 was discovered on 12 October 2013 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 2013 TF135 implies that the asteroid was the 3381st object discovered in the first two weeks of October 2013 (period 2013 T).

While 2013 TF135 regularly comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical three year orbit that takes it from 1.03 AU from the Sun (1.03 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun), slightly outside our orbit to 3.64 AU from the Sun, more than twice as far from the Sun as the planet Mars, so unless an encounter with another body causes it's orbital path to alter in a very specific way (highly unlikely) there is no chance of it hitting the Earth.  As a Near Earth Object that remains strictly outside the orbit of the Earth it is classed as an Amor Family Asteroid.

Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.