Monday 4 November 2013

Asteroid 2013 UV3 passes between the Earth and the Moon.

Asteroid 2013 UV3 passed the Earth at a distance of 283 000 km (under 75% of the distance between the Earth and the Moon) slightly before 9.50 pm GMT on Tuesday 29 October 2013. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, and if it had of done so it would have presented little risk; 2013 UV3 is estimated to be between 8 and 26 m in diameter, and an asteroid of this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 36 and 17 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

The calculated orbit of 2013 UV3. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2013 UV3 was discovered on 25 October 2013 by the 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 UV3 implies that the asteroid was the 96th object discovered in the second half  of October 2013 (period 2013 U).

2013 UV3 has a 522 day orbital period and an eliptical orbit that takes it from 0.58 AU from the Sun (i.e. 58% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, considerably inside the orbit of the Venus) to 1.96 AU from the Sun (i.e. 196% 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). 

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