Sunday, 15 March 2015

Asteroid 2015 DK200 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2015 DK200 passed by the Earth at a distance of 2 648 000 km (6.88 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 1.77% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly after 0.20 am GMT on Sunday 8 March 2015. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented only a minor threat. 2015 DK200 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 14-45 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 14-45 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to break up in the atmosphere between 28 and 10 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

The calculated orbit of 2015 DK200. JPL Small Body Database.

2015 DK200 was discovered on 20 February 2015 (sixteen days befoe its closest approach to the Earth) by the University of Hawaii's PANSTARRS telescope on Mount Haleakala on Maui. The designation 2015 DN53 implies that it was the 5010th asteroid (asteroid K200) discovered in the second half of February 2015 (period 2015 D).

2015 DK200 has an 550 day orbital period and an eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 1.7° to the plane of the Solar System, which takes it from 0.89 AU from the Sun (i.e. 89% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 1.74 AU from the Sun (i.e. 174% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, greater than 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 extremely common, with the last having occurred in September 2012 and the next predicted in August this year. 2015 DO215 also occasionally makes close passes of the planet Mars, with the next such encounter predicted in November 2118.

See also...

Witnesses have reported seeing a bright fireball over Perth and the Gidgegannup Hills in Western Australia at about 8.30 am local time on Monday 9 March 2015.  A fireball is defined as a meteor (shooting star) brighter than the planet Venus. These are typically caused by pieces of rock burning up in the atmosphere, but can...

Asteroid 2015 DO215 passed by the Earth at a distance of 1 180 000 km (3.07 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 0.79% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), at about 5.35 pm GMT on Monday 2 March 2015...

Asteroid 2015 DN53 passed by the Earth at a distance of 15 320 000 km (40.0 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 10.2% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), at about 9.10 am GMT on Sunday 1 March 2015. There...



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