Sunday 27 April 2014

Asteroid 2014 HS4 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 HS4 passed by the Earth at a distance of 7 094 000 km (slightly under 18.5 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon), a little before 7.15 pm on Tuesday 22 April 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, and if it had done it would have presented little threat. 2014 HS4 is estimated to have an equivalent diameter of 11-36 m (that is is to say a spherical body with the same volume would have a diameter of 11-36 m) and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 31 and 15 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

The calculated orbit of 2014 HS4. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2014 HS4 was discovered on 23 April 2014 (the day after its closest approach to the Earth) 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 2014 HS4 implies that the asteroid was the 118th  object (object S4) discovered in the second half  of April 2014 (period 2014 H).

While 2014 HS4 occasionally comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical 866 day orbit that takes it from 1.05 AU from the Sun (1.05 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun), slightly outside our orbit, to 2.50 AU from the Sun, (2.50 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, considerably outside the orbit of the planet Mars). 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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