Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Asteroid 2015 BL passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2015 BL passed by the Earth at a distance of 17 350 000 km (45.38 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 11.6 % of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 0.10 am GMT on Tuesday 3 February 2015. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented a minor threat. 2015 BL has an estimated equivalent diameter of 36-110 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 36-110 m in diameter), and an object towards the upper end of this range would be expected to be capable of passing through the atmosphere reasonably intact, impacting the ground in an explosion equivalent to about 60 megatonnes of TNT (roughly 3500 times the energy of the Hiroshima bomb) and creating a crator about 1.5 km in diameter. Such an event would cause devastation over a wide area, and could cause climatic problems for several years.

 The calculated orbit of 2015 BL. JPL Small Body Database.

2015 BD511 was discovered on 16 January 2015 (eighteen days before its closest approach to the Earth) by the University of Hawaii's PANSTARRS telescope on Mount Haleakala on Maui. The designation 2015 BL implies that it was the 11th asteroid (asteroid L) discovered in the second half of January 2015 (period 2015 B).

While 2015 BL occasionally comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical 826 day orbit, at an angle of 3.2° to the plane of the Solar System, that takes it from 1.05 AU from the Sun (1.05 times the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun), slightly outside our orbit, to 2.40 AU from the Sun, (2.40 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...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/asteroid-2008-cq-passes-earth.htmlAsteroid 2008 CQ passes the Earth.           Asteroid 2008 CQ passed by the Earth at a distance of 1 854 000 km (4.8 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 1.2 % of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), at about 1.20 am GMT on Saturday 31 January 2015. There was no...
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/asteroid-2015-be-passes-earth.htmlAsteroid 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...
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/asteroid-2015-bd511-passes-earth.htmlAsteroid 2015 BD511 passes the Earth.   Asteroid 2015 BD511 passed by the Earth at a distance of 1 714 000 km (4.47 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 1.1 % of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 0.50 am GMT on Friday 30 January...
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