Thursday, 19 March 2015

Asteroid 2015 EU passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2015 EU passed by the Earth at a distance of 9 359 000 km (24.7 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 6.26% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly after 2.40 am GMT on Thursday 12 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 EU 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 explode in an airburst between 17 and 10 km above the ground due to friction with the Earth's atmosphere (which would be considerably higher than generated by simply falling, due to the orbital momentum of the asteroid), with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

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

2015 EU was discovered on 10 March 2015 (two 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 2015 EU implies that it was the twentieth asteroid (asteroid U) discovered in the first half of March 2015 (period 2015 E). 

While 2015 EU occasionally comes near to the Earth, it does not actually cross our orbital path. It has an elliptical 1422 day orbit, at an angle of 2.62° 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 3.90 AU from the Sun, (3.90 times the distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun and considerably more than twice the distance at which the planet Mars orbits the Earth). As a Near Earth Object that remains strictly outside the orbit of the Earth it is classed as an Amor Family Asteroid.

See also...

Asteroid 2015 EO6 passed by the Earth at a distance of 109 400 km (0.3 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 0.07% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly after 0.30 am GMT on Thursday 12 March 2015...


Asteroid 2015 FD passed by the Earth at a distance of 4 212 000 km (11.0 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 2.82% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 2.10 am GMT on Wednesday 11 March 2015...


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