Sunday 19 January 2014

Asteroid 2014 AM29 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 AM29 passed the Earth at a distance of 4 005 000 km (roughly 10.43 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon) at slightly before 3.15 pm GMT on Sunday 12 January 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, and were it to have done so it would have presented no threat. 2014 AM29 is calculated to be between 17 and 54 m in diameter, and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the Earth's atmosphere between 25 and 7 km above the planet's surface, with only fragmentary material reaching the ground.

The calculated orbit of 2014 AM29. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2014 AM29 was discovered on 7 January 2014 (five days before its closest pass of the Earth) by the University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. The designation 2014 AM29 implies that it was the 737th asteroid discovered in the first half of January 2014 (period 2014 A).

2014 AM29 has an 4.46 year orbital period and an eccentric orbit that takes it from 0.95 AU from the Sun (i.e. 95% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 4.22 AU from the Sun (i.e. 4.22% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, considerably more than double the distance at which the planet Mars orbits the Sun). 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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