Friday, 5 December 2014

Asteroid 2014 WY201 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2014 WY201 passed by the Earth at a distance of 8 856 000 km (23 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 5.9 % of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly after 0.30 am GMT on Thursday 4 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 WY201 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 8 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

 The calculated orbit of 2014 WY201. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

 2014 WY201 was discovered on 22 November 2014 (eleven days before its closest approach to the Earth) by the University of Hawaii's PANSTARRS telescope on Mount Haleakala on Maui. The designation 2014 WY201 implies that it was the 5049th asteroid (asteroid Y201) discovered in the second half of November 2014 (period 2014 W).

 While 2014 WY201 occasionally comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical 773 day orbit, at an angle of 5.5° to the plane of the Solar System, that takes it from 1.04 AU from the Sun (1.04 times the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun), slightly outside our orbit, to 2.25 AU from the Sun, (2.25 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, and considerably more than the distance at which the planet Mars orbits the Sun). As a Near Earth Object that remains strictly outside the orbit of the Earth it is classed as an Amor Family Asteroid.

See also...

  Asteroid 2014 WZ120 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 7 019 000 km (18.26 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 4.7% of the average distance between the Sun and...

 Asteroid 2014 WH6 passed by the Earth at a distance of 11 200 000 km (29.13 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 7.5% of the average distance...

Asteroid 2014 WF201 passed by the Earth at a distance of 2 398 000 km (6.24 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 0.016% of the average distance...
 
 
 
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