Thursday 21 November 2013

Asteroid 2013 VO4 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2013 VO4 passed the Earth at a distance of 4 313 000 km (11.23 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon), slightly after 6.30 am on Tuesday 12 November 2013. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, and even were this not the case it would have presented little danger to us. 2013 VO4 is estimated to be between 7 and 23 m in diameter, and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 37 and 18 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

The calculated orbit of 2013 VO4. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2013 VO4 was discovered on 4 November 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 VD17 implies that the asteroid was the 114th object discovered in the first half  of November 2013 (period 2013 V).

2013 VO4 has a 710 day orbital period and an eliptical orbit that takes it from slightly under 1.00 AU from the Sun (i.e. slightly closer to the Sun than the Earth) to 2.11 AU from the Sun (i.e. 211% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, 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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