[astroCS] Recently Discovered Near-Earth Asteroid Makes Record-breaking Approach to Earth

Marek Husarik mhusarik at ta3.sk
Thu Mar 18 15:07:36 UTC 2004

::: Recently Discovered Near-Earth Asteroid Makes Record-breaking Approach to
Earth :::

Steven R. Chesley
Paul W. Chodas
NASA's Near Earth Object Program Office
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

A small near-Earth asteroid (NEA), discovered Monday night by the
NASA-funded LINEAR asteroid survey, will make the closest approach to Earth
ever recorded. There is no danger of a collision with the Earth during this

The object, designated 2004 FH, is roughly 30 meters (100 feet) in diameter
and will pass just 43,000 km (26,500 miles, or about 3.4 Earth diameters)
above the Earth's surface on March 18th at 5:08 PM EST (2:08 PM PST, 22:08
UTC). (Close approach details here).

On average, objects about the size of 2004 FH pass within this distance
roughly once every two years, but most of these small objects pass by
undetected. This particular close approach is unusual only in the sense that
scientists know about it. The fact that an object as small as asteroid 2004
FH has been discovered now is mostly a matter of perseverance by the LINEAR
team, who are funded by NASA to search for larger kilometer-sized NEAs, but
also routinely detect much smaller objects.

Asteroid 2004 FH's point of closest approach with the Earth will be over the
South Atlantic Ocean. Using a good pair of binoculars, the object will be
bright enough to be seen during this close approach from areas of Europe,
Asia and most of the Southern Hemisphere.

Scientists look forward to the flyby as it will provide them an
unprecedented opportunity to study a small NEA asteroid up close. 

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