Headlines > News > An Asteroid Will Pass Very Close to Earth Tomorrow

An Asteroid Will Pass Very Close to Earth Tomorrow

Published by Matt on Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:41 am via: NASA
Share
More share options
Tools
Tags

A small asteroid will fly past Earth early Tuesday within the Earth-moon system. The asteroid, 2010 TD54, will have its closest approach to Earth’s surface at an altitude of about 45,000 kilometers (27,960 miles) at 6:50 EDT a.m. (3:50 a.m. PDT). At that time, the asteroid will be over southeastern Asia in the vicinity of Singapore.

Artists impression of an asteroid flying by Earth. Credit: NASA

Artists impression of an asteroid flying by Earth. Credit: NASA

During its flyby, Asteroid 2010 TD54 has zero probability of impacting Earth. A telescope of the NASA-sponsored Catalina Sky Survey north of Tucson, Arizona discovered 2010 TD54 on Oct. 9 at (12:55 a.m. PDT) during routine monitoring of the skies.

2010 TD54 is estimated to be about 5 to 10 meters (16 to 33 feet) wide. Due to its small size, the asteroid would require a telescope of moderate size to be viewed. A five-meter-sized near-Earth asteroid from the undiscovered population of about 30 million would be expected to pass daily within a lunar distance, and one might strike Earth’s atmosphere about every 2 years on average. If an asteroid of the size of 2010 TD54 were to enter Earth’s atmosphere, it would be expected to burn up high in the atmosphere and cause no damage to Earth’s surface.

A newly-discovered car-sized asteroid will fly past Earth early Tuesday. The asteroid, 2010 TD54, will make its closest approach to Earth at 6:51 EDT a.m. (3:51 a.m. PDT). Image credit: NASA/JPL

A newly-discovered car-sized asteroid will fly past Earth early Tuesday. The asteroid, 2010 TD54, will make its closest approach to Earth at 6:51 EDT a.m. (3:51 a.m. PDT). Image credit: NASA/JPL

The distance used on the Near Earth Object page is always the calculated distance from the center of Earth. The distance stated for 2010 TD54 is 52,000 kilometers (32,000 miles). To get the distance it will pass from Earth’s surface you need to subtract the distance from the center to the surface (which varies over the planet), or about one Earth radii. That puts the pass distance at about 45,500 kilometers (28,000 miles) above the planet. NASA detects, tracks and characterizes asteroids and comets passing close to Earth using both ground-and space-based telescopes. The Near-Earth Object Observations Program, commonly called “Spaceguard,” discovers these objects, characterizes a subset of them, and plots their orbits to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our planet.

3 Comments
It is worth noting that geostationary satellites orbit at a height of around 36,000 km.

So at 46,000 km this asteroid is "only just" beyond the reach of taking out a satellite.

Or for another reference point, this asteroid will pass at a distance from the Earth that is about 12% of the distance to the moon.
Nice painting! It passes quite close to earth I think! :P
As geostationary orbit is around 36000km and it is passing around 45000km. Is it possible for the asteroids gravity to pull a satellite (or two) off their orbits. Just curious about the possibilities (and my SatTV signal!! ;))

Would the asteroids mass be too small to 'reach' the 9000km gap maybe?

I just happen to be in Singapore at the time too! that Zero % chance statement had better be correct!!!! :p :D
Leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
© 2014 The International Space Fellowship, developed by Gabitasoft Interactive. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use