Friday, 11 April 2014

Asteroid 2014 GK45 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2015 GK45 passed by the Earth at a distance of 8 964 000 km (over 23 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon) slightly after 9.30 pm GMT on Saturday 5 April 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting the Earth, and should it have done so it would have presented little threat. 2014 GK45 is estimated to be between 12 m and 39 m in diameter, and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 30 km and 25 km above the Earth's surface, with only fragmentary material reaching the ground.

The calculated orbit of 2014 GK45. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2014 GK45 was discovered on 7 April 2014 (two 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 GK45 implies that the asteroid was the 1135th  object (object K45) discovered in the first half  of April 2014 (period 2014 G).

While 2014 GK45 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 1.05 AU from the Sun (1.05 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun), slightly outside our orbit, to 2.19 AU from the Sun, (2.19 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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