Monday 4 November 2013

Asteroid 2013 VL detected after it passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2013 VL passed the Earth at a distance of 659 100 km (roughly 1.7 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon), slightly after 7.40 pm on Tuesday 29 October 2013. The asteroid was not detected until three days after it had passed us, though it presented little danger; 2013 VL is estimated to have a diameter of between 5 and 17 m, and such an object would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 42 and 25 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

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

2013 VL was detected on 1 November 2013 by the University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. The designation 2013 LV implies that it was the 11th asteroid discovered in the first half of November 2013 (period 2013 V).

2013 VL has a 649 day orbital period and an eliptical orbit that takes it from 0.84 AU from the Sun (i.e. 84% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, inside the orbit of the Earth) to 1.52 AU from the Sun (i.e. 152% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, slightly 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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