[meteorite-list] Small Asteroid to Pass Close to Earth March 5 (2013 TX68)
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2016 12:51:11 -0800 (PST)
Small Asteroid to Pass Close to Earth March 5
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
February 2, 2016
Graphic indicates the cloud of possible locations asteroid 2013 TX68 will
be in at the time of its closest approach to Earth during its safe flyby
of our planet on March 5. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
A small asteroid that two years ago flew past Earth at a comfortable distance
of about 1.3 million miles (2 million kilometers) will safely fly by our
planet again in a few weeks, though this time it may be much closer.
During the upcoming March 5 flyby, asteroid 2013 TX68 could fly past Earth
as far out as 9 million miles (14 million kilometers) or as close as 11,000
miles (17,000 kilometers). The variation in possible closest approach
distances is due to the wide range of possible trajectories for this object,
since it was tracked for only a short time after discovery.
Scientists at NASA's Center for NEO Studies (CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have determined there is no possibility
that this object could impact Earth during the flyby next month. But they
have identified an extremely remote chance that this small asteroid could
impact on Sep. 28, 2017, with odds of no more than 1-in-250-million. Flybys
in 2046 and 2097 have an even lower probability of impact.
"The possibilities of collision on any of the three future flyby dates
are far too small to be of any real concern," said Paul Chodas, manager
of CNEOS. "I fully expect any future observations to reduce the probability
Asteroid 2013 TX68 is estimated to be about 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter.
By comparison, the asteroid that broke up in the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk,
Russia, three years ago was approximately 65 feet (20 meters) wide. If
an asteroid the size of 2013 TX68 were to enter Earth's atmosphere, it
would likely produce an air burst with about twice the energy of the Chelyabinsk
The asteroid was discovered by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey on
Oct. 6, 2013, as it approached Earth on the nighttime side. After three
days of tracking, the asteroid passed into the daytime sky and could no
longer be observed. Because it was not tracked for very long, scientists
cannot predict its precise orbit around the sun, but they do know that
it cannot impact Earth during its flyby next month.
"This asteroid's orbit is quite uncertain, and it will be hard to predict
where to look for it," said Chodas. "There is a chance that the asteroid
will be picked up by our asteroid search telescopes when it safely flies
past us next month, providing us with data to more precisely define its
orbit around the sun."
For regular updates on passing asteroids, NASA has a list of the next
five close approaches to Earth; it links to the CNEOS website with a complete
list of recent and upcoming close approaches, as well as all other data
on the orbits of known NEOs, so scientists and members of the media and
public can track information on known objects.
For more information on NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office,
For asteroid news and updates, follow AsteroidWatch on Twitter:
Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726 / 202-358-1077
dwayne.c.brown at nasa.gov / laura.l.cantillo at nasa.gov
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
agle at jpl.nasa.gov
Received on Wed 03 Feb 2016 03:51:11 PM PST