Saturday, 26 April 2014

Asteroid 2014 HX2 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 HX2 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 3 310 000 km (roughly 8.15 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon), slightly before 6.00 am GMT on Saturday 19 April 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting the Earth, and had it done so  it would have presented little danger. 2014 HX2 is estimated to be between 7 m and 24 m in diameter, and an object of this size would be predicted to break up in the Earth's atmosphere between 37 and 20 km above the planet's surface, with only fragmentary material reaching the ground.

The calculated orbit of 2014 HX2. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2014 HX2 was discovered on 23 April 2014 (four 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 HX2 implies that the asteroid was the 73rd  object (object X2) discovered in the second half  of April 2014 (period 2014 H).

2014 HX2 has a 2.47 year orbital period and an eccentric orbit  that takes it from 0.98 AU from the Sun (i.e. 98% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 2.67 AU from the Sun (i.e. 267% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, considerably 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).

See also...

 Asteroid 1999 SH10 passes the Earth.

 Asteroid 2014 GJ45 passes the Earth.

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