Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Asteroid 2015 DU passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2015 DU passed by the Earth at a distance of 3 068 000 km (7.97 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 2% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), at about 10.00 am GMT on Monday 23 February 2015. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented only a minor threat. 2015 DU has an estimated equivalent diameter of 9-28 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 9-28 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 33 and 18 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

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

2015 DU was discovered on 17 February 2015 (six days befoe its closest approach to the Earth) by the University of Hawaii's PANSTARRS telescope on Mount Haleakala on Maui. The designation 2015 DU implies that it was the 20th asteroid (asteroid U) discovered in the second half of February 2015 (period 2015 D).

While 2015 DU occasionally comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical 424 day orbit, at an angle of 2.7° to the plane of the Solar System, that takes it from 1.004 AU from the Sun (1.004 times the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun), slightly outside our orbit, to 1.21 AU from the Sun, (1.21 times the distance at which the Earth 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. This orbit also means that close encounters between 2015 DU and the Earth are extremely common, with the last having occured in March 2008 and the next predicted for January 2022.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/asteroid-2014-ym9-passes-earth.htmlAsteroid 2014 YM9 passes the Earth.       Asteroid 2014 YM9 passed by the Earth at a distance of 15 510 000 km (40.35 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 10.4 % of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly after 11.10 pm GMT on Thursday 12 February...

A meteor estimated to be 60 cm across and to weigh in excess of 225 kilograms was observed over southwestern Pennsylvania early in the morning of Tuesday 17 February 2015. Scientists at the...
 
Asteroid 2011 WK15 passed by the Earth at a distance of 17 210 000 km (44.78 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 11.5 % of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly after 1.30 am GMT on Thursday 12 February...
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