Thursday, 17 April 2014

Asteroid 2014 FS52 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 FS52 passed by the Earth at a distance of 5 867 000 km (over 15 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon) at about 7.50 am GMT on Friday 11 April 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting the Earth and had it done so it would have presented only a minor hazard. 2014 FS52 is estimated to be between 24 m and 75 m in diameter, and an object of this size would be expected to break up between 20 km and 2 km above the Earth's surface, with only fragmentary material reaching the ground, although being directly beneath an object at the upper end of this range would probably be fairly unpleasant.

The calculated orbit of 2014 FS52. JPL Small Body Database Browser

2014 FS52 was discovered on 31 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 FS52 implies that the asteroid was the 1318th  object (object S52) discovered in the second half  of March 2014 (period 2014 F).

2014 FS52 has a 2.85 year orbital period and an eccentric orbit that takes it from 0.83 AU from the Sun (i.e. 83% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 3.19 AU from the Sun (i.e. 319% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, and 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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