Thursday, Oct 02, 2014

Apollo asteroid to hurtle between moon and Earth today

The asteroid 2014 DX110, is expected to make its closest approach on Wednesday The asteroid 2014 DX110, is expected to make its closest approach on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Express News Service | Posted: March 5, 2014 12:42 pm | Updated: March 5, 2014 2:09 pm

A newly discovered asteroid will hurtle between the moon and the Earth on Wednesday. It will be passing by Earth on March 5 at around 21:06 Universal Time (UT)/ 4:06 PM EST close enough to dip inside the orbit of the moon.

The asteroid, named 2014 DX110, was revealed just four days ago by the Pan-STARRS 1 survey and astronomers tracking it already have a good idea of its size and its orbit around the sun.

It is about 20-30 metres wide and about 16,000 metric tons. It’s specifically an Apollo asteroid — so called because its orbit is larger than Earth’s orbit and takes it on a path that crosses Earth’s orbit.

It is approximately 217,000 miles from the Earth.

The asteroid is no threat to Earth or the Moon – it makes a pass 232,800 miles from our natural satellite one hour and 22 minutes after its closest passage from the Earth.

But if 2014 DX110 actually did hit Earth at some point, it would be comparable to the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, back in February of last year.

Both the Slooh Space Camera and the Virtual Telescope Project will be broadcasting their flies of the asteroid on Wednesday starting at 4 am ET from the Slooh site, and at 3:30 pm ET from the Virtual Telescope page.

Fortunately for the moon, though, it’s not in the path of 2014 DX110 — the asteroid actually misses the moon with a wider margin than it does the Earth.

Since October 2008, dozen of asteroids have passed through the Earth. Although the closest one was found to be the asteroid 2011 CQ1 passed within 7,294 miles of us on Feb 4, 2011.

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