Saturday, 25 June 2016

Asteroid 2016 MA passes the Earth.

Asteroid 2016 MA passed by the Earth at a distance of 999 900 km (2.60 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 0.66% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 4.35 am GMT on Sunday 19 June 2016. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented no threat. 2016 MA has an estimated equivalent diameter of 5-19 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 5-19 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to explode in an airburst (an explosion caused by superheating from friction with the Earth's atmosphere, which is greater than that caused by simply falling, due to the orbital momentum of the asteroid) in the atmosphere between 40 and 25 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.
 
 The calculated orbit of 2016 MAJPL Small Body Database.
 
2016 MA was discovered on 16 June 2016 (three days before its closest approach to the Earth) by the University of Arizona's Mt. Lemmon Survey at the Steward Observatory on Mount Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. The designation 2016 MA implies that the asteroid was the first object (object A) discovered in the second half of June 2016 (period 2016 M).
 
2016 MA has a 658 day orbital period and an eccentric orbit that takes it from 0.92 AU from the Sun (i.e. 92% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun) to 2.03 AU from the Sun (i.e. 203% of the average distance at which the Earth orbits the Sun, considerably outside orbit of the planet Mars). It is therefore classed as an Apollo Group Asteroid (an asteroid that is on average further from the Sun than the Earth, but which does get closer). This means that close encounters between the asteroid and Earth are fairly common, with the last thought to have happened in May 2007 and the next predicted in October this year.

See also...
 
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/asteroid-2004-kh17-passes-earth.htmlAsteroid 2004 KH17 passes the Earth.   Asteroid 2004 KH17 passed by the Earth at a distance of 16 990 000 km (30.2 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 11.4% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 0.20 am GMT on Thursday 2 June...
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/fireball-over-arizona.htmlFireball over Arizona.                                  The American Meteor Society has received reports of a bright fireball meteor being seen over much of the southwest United States at about 4.00 am local time on Thursday 2 June 2016 (about 11.00 am GMT). The fireball was seen across Arizona, Utah, New...
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/asteroid-2016-jd18-passes-earth.htmlAsteroid 2016 JD18 passes the Earth.    Asteroid 2016 JD18 passed by the Earth at a distance of 625 300 km (1.63 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 0.42% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), at about 11.25 pm on Monday 16 May 2016. There...
 
 
 
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