Saturday 12 March 2022

Asteroid 2022 EO passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2022 EO passed by the Earth at velocity of 8.51 km per second and a distance of about 391 90 km (1.02 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 0.26% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 7.50 pm GMT on Saturday 5 March 2022. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though were it to do so it would not have presented a significant threat. 2022 EO has an estimated equivalent diameter of 2-8 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 2-8 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to explode in an airburst (an explosion caused by superheating from friction with the Earth's atmosphere, which is greater than that caused by simply falling, due to the orbital momentum of the asteroid) more than 35 above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

The relative positions of 2022 EO and the Earth on at 9.00 pm on 5 March 2022. JPL Small Body Database.

2022 EO was discovered on 1 March 2022 (four days before 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 2022 CJ5 implies that the asteroid was the 14th object (asteroid O - 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 O = 14) discovered in the first half of March 2022 (period 2022 E - the year being split into 24 half-months represented by the letters A-Y, with I being excluded).

The orbit and current position of 2022 EO. The Sky Live 3D Solar System Simulator.

2022 EO has a 379 day (1.04 year) orbital period, with an elliptical orbit tilted at an angle of 4.80° to the plain of the Solar System which takes in to 0.77 AU from the Sun (77% of the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) and out to 1.27 AU (127% of the distance at which the Earth orbits the Su). 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). This means that 2022 CJ5 has occasional close encounters with the Earth, with the last thought to have happened in February 2021 and the next predicted in March 2023. 

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