Sunday, 13 April 2014

Asteroid 2014 EF4 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 EF4 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 12 310 000 km (slightly over 32 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon), a little after 9.05 am on Tuesday 8 April 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, and had it done so it would have presented only a minor threat. 2014 EF4 is estimated to be between 23 m and 71 m in diameter, and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the Earth's atmosphere between 20 km and 3 km above the planet's surface with only fragmentary material reaching the ground - although being directly under an object towards the upper end of this scale would probably be fairly unpleasant.

The calculated orbit of 2014 EF4. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2014 EF4 was discovered on 7 March 2014 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 EF4 implies that the asteroid was the 106th  object (object F4) discovered in the first half  of March 2014 (period 2014 E).

While 2014 EF4 occasionally comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical 711 day orbit that takes it from 1.02 AU from the Sun (1.02 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun), slightly outside our orbit, to 2.1 AU from the Sun, (2.10 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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