DR. SKY BLOG

Many new asteroids passing close to Earth this year

Aug 1, 2017, 12:15 PM | Updated: 2:26 pm
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It appears that 2017 is a year to remember, as many new asteroids are passing Earth at some very close distances!

On July 23, astronomers discovered an asteroid passing within some 76,448 miles of Earth. The commercial jet-sized object was designated as asteroid 2017 001. It is moving through space about 23,000 miles per hour.

The interesting thing about this discovery is the fact that the object passed closest to Earth three days before it was discovered.

This was not the first time this year that asteroids of that size have passed this close to Earth and it will not be the last.

Asteroid 2012 TC4 — which is about 30 meters across — was expected to pass our home planet on Oct. 12. Its orbit could bring it as close as 4,200 miles from us or as far as 200,000 miles. No one is quite sure yet.

As of this date, there are some 1,803 potentially hazardous asteroids for which we have we have reliable orbits.

The threat from space can come from these close-approach objects — which are are small by asteroid standards — and may impact Earth.

The Russian asteroid of 2013 was a prime example of this. It was about 66 feet in diameter and caused a considerable sonic boom and some harm to humans and property.

NASA was planning on testing the so-called Planetary Defense System, a coordinated effort by scientists to track, follow and determine the precise orbit of these potential threats to Earth.

The Great American Total Solar Eclipse is just weeks away! Check out my Dr. Sky eclipse guide here.

August skies offer something for everyone! Get you very own Dr. Sky August star chart.

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Many new asteroids passing close to Earth this year