Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Upcoming Earth-Asteroid Encounters

From News24 (South Africa):

Asteroids take aim at the Earth
A number of asteroids are set to pass the Earth, with one coming very close to the planet on Wednesday.

Asteroid 2014 HM2 and 2014 GH35 will pass the Earth on Tuesday at a relatively safe distance of 15 million and 20 million kilometres respectively, but on Wednesday, 2014 KF22 will pass just one million kilometres from the Earth.

Tuesday's space rocks are massive at between 100m to 300m in size, and though KF22 is smaller at about 30m, it is travelling almost double the speed at 38 000km/h.

Asteroids can potentially cause huge impact is they strike the Earth and if a sufficiently large body hits, it would cause global catastrophe regardless of the location of the impact zone.

An asteroid of 10km in diameter is regarded by astronomers as an extinction event, similar to the one that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Future collision

In 2013, the Chelyabinsk meteor exploded in the atmosphere over Russia, caused widespread damage and injuries to around 1 500 people.

The explosion was equivalent to around 30 times the power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

The Moon is about 384 400km from the Earth and while this orbit will see safe passage for the Earth from KF22, asteroids orbit the sun and any minor change from gravity could result in a future collision....MORE
Spaceweather.com's handy table:

On May 27, 2014 there were 1477 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2002 JC
May 24
48.7 LD
1.4 km
2014 KF22
May 28
2.7 LD
22 m
2014 KH39
Jun 3
1.1 LD
28 m
2014 HQ124
Jun 8
3.3 LD
650 m
2011 PU1
Jul 18
7.6 LD
43 m
2002 JN97
Aug 2
61.4 LD
2.0 km
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.