Sunday, 11 September 2016

Asteroid 2016 RO17 passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2016 RO17 passed by the Earth at a distance of 882 200 km (2.30 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, 0.6% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 2.30 am GMT on Thursday 8 September 2016. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented no threat. 2016 RO17 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 10-33 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 10-33 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 32 and 12 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.

 The calculated orbit of 2016 RO17JPL Small Body Database.

2016 RO17 was discovered on 5 September 2016 (three 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 2016 RO17 implies that the asteroid was the 439th object (object O17) discovered in the first half of September 2016 (period 2016 R).

2016 RO17 has a 1072 day orbital period and an elliptical orbit tilted at an angle of 6.61° to the plain of the Solar System that takes it from 0.76 AU from the Sun (i.e. 76% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun and slightly outside the orbit of Venus) to 3.34 AU from the Sun (i.e. 334% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, considerably more than twice 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 very common, with the last thought to have happened in January 2011 and the next predicted in August 2019.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/fireball-over-north-carolina.htmlFireball over North Carolina.                       The American Meteor Society has received reports of a bright fireball meteor being seen over parts of the southeast of North America slightly after 6.00 pm local time (slightly after 11.00 pm GMT) on Thursday 8 September 2016. The fireball was seen across most...
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/asteroid-2016-rb1-passes-earth.htmlAsteroid 2016 RB1 passes the Earth.     Asteroid 2016 RB1 passed by the Earth at a distance of 40 470 km (0.11 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, 0.02% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun, or 4684 m higher than the orbit in which communication satellites in geostationary orbits orbit the Earth)...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/fireball-over-oregon.htmlFireball over Oregon.                                   The American Meteor Society has received reports of a bright fireball meteor being seen over much of the northwest of North America at about 11.55 pm local time on Friday 2 September  2016 (about 6.55 am on Saturday 3 September GMT). The fireball was...


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