(441987) 2010 NY65 passed by the Earth at a distance of 5 972 000 km
(15.6 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 3.99% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 5.10 am GMT on Friday 25 June 2021. There was no danger of
the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented a
considerable threat. (441987) 2010 NY65
has an estimated equivalent
diameter of 94-300 m (i.e. a spherical body with the same mass would be
99-310 m in diameter), and an towards the upper end of this range
would pass through the atmosphere and directly impact the ground with a
force of about 1110 megatons (about 65 300 times the
explosive energy of
the Hiroshima bomb), causing devastation over a wide area and creating a
crater about 4.6 km across, and resulting in global climatic problems
could last for decades or even centuries.
Asteroid (441987) 2010 NY65 observed from London, England in June 2017. Northolt Branch Observatories/Facebook.
(441987) 2010 NY65 was discovered on 14 July 2010 by the NEOWISE system on the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
satellite. The designation 2010 NY65 implies that it was the 1649th
asteroid (asteroid Y65; in numbering asteroids the letters A-Z, excluding I, are assigned
numbers from 1 to 25, with a number added to the end each time the
alphabet is ended, so that A = 1, A1 = 26, A2 = 51, etc., which means that Y65 = (25 x 65) + 24 = 1649) discovered in the first half of July 2010
(period 2010 N; the
year being split into 24 half-months represented by the letters A-Y, with I being excluded), while
the designation 441987 implies that it was 441 987th asteroid ever
discovered (asteroids are not given this longer designation immediately
to avoid naming double or false sightings).
(441987) 2010 NY65 has a 367 day (1 year) orbital period, with an elliptical orbit tilted at
an angle of 11.6° to the plain of the Solar System which takes in to
0.63 AU from the Sun (63% of the distance at which the Earth orbits the
Sun and inside the orbit of the planet Venus) and out to
1.37 AU (37%
further away from the Sun than the Earth). This means that close
encounters between the asteroid and Earth are fairly common, with the
last thought to have happened in June 2020 and the next predicted
in June 2022. (441987) 2010 NY65 also has frequent close encounters with the
planet Venus, with the last thought to have occurred in May 2020
the next predicted for May 2052. Although it does cross the Earth's
orbit and is briefly
further from the Sun on each cycle, (441987) 2010 NY65 spends most of its time
closer to the Sun than we are, and is therefore classified as an Aten
Group Asteroid. As
an asteroid possibly larger than 150 m in diameter that occasionally
comes within 0.05 AU of the Earth, (441987) 2010 NY65 is also classified
as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid.
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