Sunday, September 8, 2019

Newly Discovered Small Asteroid Passes By Earth at a Close Distance

A newly detected small asteroid, designated 2019 RC1, passed by the Earth on Saturday, September 7, at 10:48 UTC. The space rock missed our planet with a relative velocity of 20.4 km/s, at a close distance of just 0.48 lunar distances (LD), what corresponds to 184,000 kilometers.

2019 RC1 is an Apollo-type asteroid first spotted on September 5, 2019 by the Mount Lemmon Survey (MLS), which utilizes a 1.52 m cassegrain reflector telescope at Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona. MLS is one of the most prolific surveys when it comes to discovering near-Earth objects (NEOs). So far, it has detected more than 50,000 minor planets.

Observations show that 2019 RC1 has an estimated diameter of around 6 meters. The object an absolute magnitude of 28.8 and a semimajor axis of approximately 2.13 AU. It takes it about 3.11 years to fully orbit the sun.

Around one hour and a half hour before the fly-by of Earth, the asteroid flew by the Moon at a distance of some 1.06 LD (407,000 kilometers). No future close approaches of 2019 RC1 to our planet are currently predicted by astronomers. 

On September 8, there were 2,015 potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) detected, however none of them is on a collision course with our planet. PHAs are asteroids larger than 100 meters that can come closer to Earth than 19.5 LD (7.5 million kilometers).

To date, astronomers have discovered nearly 21,000 NEOs. Only this month, 80 such objects have been detected.

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