[meteorite-list] 100-Foot Asteroid To Make Earth Flyby; No Risk Posed

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:32:51 2004
Message-ID: <200403181541.HAA09064_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


100-foot asteroid to make Earth fly-by; no risk posed
The Associated Press
March 17, 2004

SAN DIEGO - A 100-foot diameter asteroid will pass within 26,500 miles of
Earth on Thursday, the closest-ever brush on record by a space rock, NASA
astronomers said Wednesday.

The asteroid's close flyby, first spied late Monday, poses no risk, NASA
astronomers stressed.

"It's a guaranteed miss," said astronomer Paul Chodas, of the near-Earth
object office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The asteroid, 2004 FH, is expected to make its closest approach at 2:08 p.m.
PST, streaking over the southern Atlantic Ocean. It should be visible
through binoculars to stargazers across the southern hemisphere, as well as
throughout Asia and Europe, said astronomer Steve Chesley, also of JPL.

Professional astronomers around the globe scrambled Wednesday to prepare for
the flyby, which could provide an unprecedented chance to get a close look
at the asteroid, he added. The asteroid will pass within the moon's orbit.

Similarly sized asteroids are believed to come as close to Earth on average
once every two years, but have always escaped detection.

"The important thing is not that it's happening, but that we detected it,"
Chesley said.

Astronomers found the asteroid late Monday during a routine survey carried
out with a pair of telescopes in New Mexico funded by the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration. Follow-up observations on Tuesday allowed them to
pinpoint its orbit.

"It immediately became clear it would pass very close by the Earth," Chesley

Astronomers have not ruled out that the asteroid and our planet could meet
again sometime in the future. If the two were to collide, the asteroid likely
would disintegrate in the atmosphere, Chesley said.
Received on Thu 18 Mar 2004 10:41:50 AM PST

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