Monday, 2 February 2015

Asteroid 2015 BE passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2015 BE passed by the Earth at a distance of 11 890 000 km (30.91 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 7.9 % of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), at about 8.25 am GMT on Friday 30 January 2015. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented only a minor threat. 2015 BE has an estimated equivalent diameter of 21-65 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 21-65 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 22 and 4 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

 The calculated orbit of 2015 BE JPL Small Body Database.

2015 BD511 was discovered on 16 January 2015 (fourteen days before its closest approach to the Earth) by the University of Hawaii's PANSTARRS telescope on Mount Haleakala on Maui. The designation 2015 BE implies that it was the 5th asteroid (asteroid E) discovered in the second half of January 2015 (period 2015 B).

 2015 BE has a 788 day year orbital period and an eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 14.5° to the plane of the Solar System, which takes it from 0.92 AU from the Sun (i.e. 92% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 2.42 AU from the Sun (i.e. 242% 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 another predicted for June this year.

See also...

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