Sunday 20 October 2013

Asteroid 2013 TX68 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2013 TX68 passed the Earth at a distance of slightly over two million kilometers (roughly 5.4 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon), slightly after 8.35 pm GMT on Sunday 13 October 2013. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, and even if it had of done it would have presented no threat; 2013 TX68 is estimated to be between 16 and 52 m in diameter, and an object this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 26 and 8 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

The calculated orbit of 2013 TX68. JPL Small Body Database Browser

2013 TX68 was discovered on 6 October 2013 by the University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. The designation 2013 TX68 implies that it was the 1723rd such object discovered in the first two weeks of October 2013 (period 2013 T).

2013 TX68 has a 779 day (2.13 year) orbital period and an eliptical orbit that takes it from 0.74 AU from the Sun (i.e. 74% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, slightly outside the orbit of Venus) to 2.57 AU from the Sun (i.e. 257% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, considerably outside the orbit of 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). It is calculated that the asteroid will next come close to us in March 2016.

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