Sunday 3 November 2013

Asteroid 2013 TY5 passed the Earth.

Asteroid 2013 TY5 passed the Earth at a distance of 12 170 000 km (a little under 32 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon), slightly before 7.50 pm on Saturday 26 October 2013. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though if it had of done it would have presented some danger. Asteroid 2013 TY5 is estimated to be between 30 and 94 m in diameter, and an object towards the upper end of this range would be capable of passing through our atmosphere reasonably intact, hitting the ground and creating a crater around a kilometer in diameter, as well as causing devastation over a wide area and global climatic effects lasting several years; although it would not be capable of effecting permanent change on a global scale.

The calculated orbit of 2013 TY5. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2013 TY5 was discovered on 4 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 TY5 implies that the asteroid was the 149th object discovered in the first half  of October 2013 (period 2013 T).

While 2013 TY5 occasionally comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical 3.96 year orbit that takes it from 1.002 AU from the Sun (1.002 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun), slightly outside our orbit, to 4 AU from the Sun, more than twice the distance at which the planet Mars orbits the Sun, 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.

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