Sunday, 29 June 2014

Asteroid 2014 MZ5 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 MZ5 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 9 908 000 km (25.78 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon), slightly after 3.50 pm GMT on Sunday 22 June 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though were it to do so it would have presented a moderate threat. 2014 MZ5 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 30-94 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 30-94 m in diameter), and an object towards the upper end of this range would be predicted to be capable of passing through the Earth's atmosphere relatively intact, impacting the ground with an energy equivalent to about 35 megatons of TNT (roughly 2050 times the energy of the Hiroshima bomb). Such an event would result in a crater about a kilometer across, cause devastation over a wide area around the impact site and would have the potential to affect the climate globally for several years.

The calculated orbit of 2014 MZ5. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2014 MZ5 was discovered on 21 June 2014 (the day before 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 MZ5 implies that it was the 150th asteroid (asteroid Z5) discovered in the second half of June 2014 (period 2014 M).

While 2014 MZ5 occasionally comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical 486 day orbit, tilted to the plane of the Solar System, that takes it from 1.08 AU from the Sun (1.08 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun), slightly outside our orbit, to 1.34 AU from the Sun, (1.34 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. This means that close encounters between the asteroid and Earth are fairly common, with the last thought to have happened in June 2010 and the next predicted in June 2018.

See also...


Comet C/2014 E2 (Jacques) will reach its perihelion (the closest point on its orbit to the Sun)  on Thursday 3 July 2014, reaching its brightest in the sky (seen from Earth) a later in July, when it should...



Asteroid 2014 MH6 passed by the Earth at a distance of 247 100 km (0.64 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon), at about 2.05 pm GMT on Sunday 22 June 2013. There was no...



Asteroid 2014 MP passed by the Earth at a distance of 3 483 000 km (9.05 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon), slightly before 5.40 am GMT on Sunday 22 June 2013. There was...


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