Monday, 23 November 2015

Asteroid 2015 VD105 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2015 VD105 passed by the Earth at a distance of 2 777 000 km (7.22 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 1.86% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 4.25 pm on Monday 16 November 2015. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented only a minor threat. 2015 VD105 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 23-71 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 23-71  m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to explode in an airburst (an explosion caused by superheating from friction with the Earth's atmosphere, which is greater than that caused by simply falling, due to the orbital momentum of the asteroid) in the atmosphere between 20 and 3 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface, though an object at the upper end of this range would explode with the equivalent energy to about 16 megatons of TNT (roughly 940 times the energy released by the Hiroshima bomb explosion), so being directly underneath it might be rather unpleasant.

 The calculated orbit of 2015 VD105. JPL Small Body Database.

2015 VD105 was discovered on 11 November 2015 (three days before its closest approach to the Earth) by the University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey, which is located in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. The designation 2015 VD105 implies that it was the 1629th asteroid (asteroid D105) discovered in the first half of November 2015 (period 2015 V).

2015 VD105 has a 1428 day orbital period and an eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 1.12° to the plane of the Solar System that takes it from 0.87 AU from the Sun (i.e. 87% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 4.09 AU from the Sun (i.e. 409% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, considerably more than twice the distance at which the planet Mars orbits). 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). 

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/asteroid-2015-vu65-passes-earth.htmlAsteroid 2015 VU65 passes the Earth.    Asteroid 2015 VU65 passed by the Earth at a distance of 2 009 000 km (5.23 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 1.34% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 10.05  pm on Saturday 14...
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/asteroid-2015-vy2-passes-earth.htmlAsteroid 2015 VY2 passes the Earth.     Asteroid 2015 VY2 passed by the Earth at a distance of 18 550 000 km (48.6 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 12.4% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly after 10.00 pm GMT on Wednesday 11...
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/asteroid-2015-vt64-passes-earth.htmlAsteroid 2015 VT64 passes the Earth.    Asteroid 2015 VT64 passed by the Earth at a distance of 3 772 000 km (9.68 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 2.49% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 7.15 pm on Monday 9 November...


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