Saturday, 26 July 2014

Asteroid 2013 YG passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2013 YG passed by the Earth at a distance of 19 190 000 km (49.68 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 12.7% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), at about 10.45 pm GMT on Tuesday 22 July 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented only a moderate threat. 2013 YG has an estimated equivalent diameter of 16-49 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 16-49 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 26 and 9 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface, although being directly beneath an object towards the upper end of this range would probably be quite unpleasant.

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

2013 YG was discovered on 23 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 YG implies that it was the 5th asteroid (asteroid G) discovered in the second half of December 2013 (period 2013 Y).

2013 YG has a 352 day orbital period, with an elliptical orbit tilted at an angle of 7.12° to the plain of the Solar System which takes in to 0.90 AU from the Sun (90% of the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) and out to 1.05 AU (5% further away from the Sun than the Earth). This means that close encounters between the asteroid and Earth are fairly common, with the last thought to have happened in Decwmber 2013 and the next predicted in JMay 2015. Although it does cross the Earth's orbit and is briefly further from the Sun on each cycle, 2013 YG spends most of its time closer to the Sun than we are, and is therefore classified as an Aten Group Asteroid.

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