Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Asteroid 2014 GG45 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 GG45 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 1 922 000 km (a little over 5 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, slightly after 12.05 pm GMT on Wednesday 9 April 2012. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, and had it done so it would have presented only a minor hazard. 2014 GG45 is estimated to be between 21 m and 65 m in diameter, and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the Earth's atmosphere between 22 km and 4 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the planet's surface - although being directly underneath an object towards the upper end of this scale would probably be fairly unpleasant.

The calculated orbit of 2014 GG45. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2014 GG45 was discovered on 7 April 2014 (two days before its closest approach to the Earth) by the University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey, which is located in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. The designation 2014 GG45 implies that it was the 1132nd asteroid (asteroid G45) discovered in the first half of April 2014 (period 2014 G).

2014 GG45 has a 530 day orbital period and an eccentric orbit tilted to the plain of the Solar System that takes it from 0.97 AU from the Sun (i.e. 0.97% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 1.59 AU from the Sun (i.e. 1.59% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, and slightly outside the orbit of the planet Mars). 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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