Thursday, 10 April 2014

Asteroid 2014 GH45 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 GH45 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 12 060 000 km (over 31 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon) at about 8.55 pm GMT on Wednesday 2 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 GH45 is calculated to be between 20 m and 62 m in diameter, and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the Earth's atmosphere between 23 km and 5 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the planet's surface - although being directly underneath an object towards the larger end of this scale would probably be somewhat unpleasant.

The calculated orbit of 2014 GH45. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2014 GH45 was discovered on 7 April 2014 (five days after 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 2014 GS1 implies that the asteroid was the 883rd  object (object H45) discovered in the first half  of April 2014 (period 2014 G).

While 2014 GH35 occasionally comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical 459 day orbit that takes it from 1.01 AU from the Sun (1.01 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun), slightly outside our orbit, to 1.32 AU from the Sun, (1.32 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun). As a Near Earth Object that remains strictly outside the orbit of the Earth it is classed as an Amor Family Asteroid. Although 2014 GH35 always remains outside the orbit of the Earth, it is never greatly outside that orbit, so that close encounters between the two bodies are not that uncommon, the last being calculated to have occurred in October 2013.

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