Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Asteroid 2014 GD34 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 GD34 passed by the Earth at a distance of 9 594 000 km (slightly under 25 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon) at about 8.05 am GMT on Wednesday 9 April 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, and had it done so it would not have presented any serious threat. 2014 GD34 is calculated to be between 15 m and 47 m in diameter, and an object of this size would be calculated to break up in the Earth's atmosphere between 27 km and 9 km above the planet's surface, with only fragmentary material reaching the ground.

The calculated orbit of 2014 GD34. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2014 GD34 was discovered on 5 April 2014 (four days before its closest approach to the Earth) by the University of Hawaii's PANSTARRS telescope on Mount Haleakala. The designation 2014 GD34 implies that it was the 854th asteroid (asteroid D34) discovered in the first half of April 2014 (period 2014 G).

While 2014 GD34 occasionally comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical 451 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 1.25 AU from the Sun, (1.25 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, still inside 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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