Sunday, 6 July 2014

Asteroid 2013 XM24 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2013 XM24 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 16 920 000 km (44.01 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon), slightly before 7.00 am GMT on Sunday 29 June 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though were it to do so it would have presented a serious threat. 2013 XM24 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 300-940 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 300-940 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be predicted to be capable of passing through the Earth's atmosphere relatively intact, impacting the ground with an energy equivalent to about 1100-45 000 megatons of TNT (roughly 67 700-2 650 000 times the energy of the Hiroshima bomb). Such an event would result in a crater between 4.5 and 12 km across, cause devastation on a global scale and would have the potential to affect the climate globally for decades to centuries after the impact event.


The calculated orbit of 2013 XM24. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

2013 XM24 was discovered on 13 December 2013 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 2013 XM24 implies that it was the 612th asteroid (asteroid M24) discovered in the first half of December 2013 (period 2013 X).

2013 XM24 has a 786 day year orbital period and an eccentric orbit strongly tilted to the plane of the Solar System that takes it from 0.96 AU from the Sun (i.e. 96% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 2.38 AU from the Sun (i.e. 238% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, considerably outside the orbit of 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). This means that close encounters between the asteroid and Earth are fairly common, with the last thought to have happened in June 1999 and the next predicted in June 2027.

See also...

 Asteroid 1994 CJ1 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 1994 CJ1 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 13 570 000 km (35.29 times the average distance between the Earth and the...


 Asteroid 2014 ME6 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 ME6 passed by the Earth at a distance of 3 394 000 km (8.83 times the average distance between the Earth and the...



 Comet C/2013 UQ4 (Catalina) reaches its perihelion.

Comet C/2013 UQ4 (Catalina) will reach its perihelion (the closest point on its orbit to the Sun) on Sunday 6 July 2014. The comet will...


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