Monday, 8 December 2014

Asteroid WY365 passes the Earth.

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), slightly before 4.40 pm GMT on Saturday 6 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 WY365 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 14-43 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 14-43 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 26 and 13 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

 The calculated orbit of 2014 WY365. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

 2014 WY365 was discovered on 28 November 2014 (eight days 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 WY365 implies that it was the 9149th asteroid (asteroid Y365) discovered in the second half of November 2014 (period 2014 W).

2014 WY365 has a 1052 day year orbital period and an eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 5.3° 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 3.09 AU from the Sun (i.e. 309% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, slightly more than twice the distance at which the planet Mars 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 are fairly common, with the next predicted in February 2104.

See also...

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)...
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...
 
 
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