Friday, 19 December 2014

Asteroid 2014 KF39 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 KF39 passed by the Earth at a distance of 16 780 000 km (43.68 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 11.2 % of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly after 6.10 pm GMT on Thursday 18 December 2014. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented only a minor threat. 2014 KF39 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 17-54 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 17-54 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 25 and 7 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface. 

 The calculated orbit of 2014 KF39. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

 2014 KF39 was discovered on 20 May 2014 by the University of Hawaii's PANSTARRS telescope on Mount Haleakala on Maui. The designation 2014 KF39 implies that it was the 981st asteroid (asteroid F39) discovered in the second half of May 2014 (period 2014 K).
 
2014 KF39 has a 388 day year orbital period and an eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 3.6° to the plane of the Solar System, which takes it from 0.96 AU from the Sun (i.e. 96% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 1.12 AU from the Sun (i.e. 1.12% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun). 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 areextremely  common, with the last having occured in July this year and the next predicted in November 2015.

 See also...

Asteroid 2014 WM365 passed by the Earth at a distance of 8 165 000 km (21.26 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 5.4 % of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun)...
 Asteroid 2014 WD497 passed by the Earth at a distance of 6 144 000 km (15.95 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 4.1 % of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun)...
Asteroid 2014 WY365 passed by the Earth at a distance of 3 381 000 km (8.81 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 2.3 % of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun)...
 
 
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