Asteroid 2005 YU55 Gets Closer to Earth; “No Chance of an Impact”

Article Updated: 26 Apr , 2016
by

[/caption]

Yes, it’s coming. Yes, it’s big. Yes, it will be even closer than the Moon. And yes… we’re completely safe.

The 400-meter-wide asteroid 2005 YU55 is currently zipping through the inner Solar System at over 13 km (8 miles) a second. On Tuesday, November 8, at 6:28 p.m. EST, it will pass Earth, coming within 325,000 km (202,000 miles). This is indeed within the Moon’s orbit (although YU55’s trajectory puts it a bit above the exact plane of the Earth-Moon alignment.) Still, it is the closest pass by such a large object since 1976… yet, NASA scientists aren’t concerned. Why?

Because its orbit has been well studied, there’s nothing in its way, and frankly there’s simply nothing it will do to affect Earth.

Animation of 2005 YU55's trajectory on Nov. 8. (NASA/JPL) Click to play.

Period.

2005 YU55’s miniscule gravity will not cause earthquakes. It has no magnetic field. It will not strike another object, or the Moon, or the Earth. It will not come into contact with cometary debris, Elenin, a black dwarf, Planet X, or Nibiru. (Not that those last three even exist.) No, YU55 will do exactly what it’s doing right now: passing through the Solar System. It will come, it will go, and hopefully NASA scientists – as well as many amateur astronomers worldwide – will have a chance to get a good look at it as it passes.

Scientists with NASA’s Near-Earth Objects Observation Program will begin tracking YU55 on Friday, November 4 using the 70-meter radar telescope at the Deep Space Network in Goldstone, California , as well as with the Arecibo Planetary Radar Facility in Puerto Rico beginning November 8. These facilities will continue to track it until the 10th.

This close pass will offer a great opportunity to get detailed radar imaging of YU55, an ancient C-type asteroid literally darker than coal. Since these objects can be difficult to observe using visible light, radar mapping can better reveal details about their surface and composition.

To help inform the public about YU55 NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena recently hosted a live Q&A session on Ustream featuring specialists Marina Brozovic, a Goldstone Radar Team scientist, and Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program. They fielded questions sent in via chat and Twitter… a recording of the event in its entirety can be seen below:



Video streaming by Ustream

Undoubtedly there will still be those who continue to spread misinformation about 2005 YU55. After all, they did the same with the now-disintegrated comet Elenin. But the truth is out there… and the truth is that there’s no danger, no cover-ups, no “plots”, and simply no cause for concern.

“It’s completely safe… no chance of an impact.”

– Don Yeomans, JPL

Read more about YU55 on our previous post or  on NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program site.

UPDATE: JPL has released a brief video about YU55 featuring research scientist Lance Benner, who specializes in radar imaging of near-Earth objects:

Although classified as a potentially hazardous object, 2005 YU55 poses no threat of an Earth collision over at least the next 100 years. However, this will be the closest approach to date by an object this large that we know about in advance and an event of this type will not happen again until 2028 when asteroid (153814) 2001 WN5 will pass to within 0.6 lunar distances. – Near-Earth Object Program, JPL

, , , , , , , , , ,



82 Responses

  1. Mike Ross says:

    After it passes Earth, it’s headed straight for Uranus!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Assuming there would be no danger of collateral damage to Earth, it would be quite an event if that hefty Asteroid’s trajectory were such that it struck the Moon’s near side during an Earth-night view (perhaps the geometry configuration would make that impossible). What an Autumn fireworks display that would make! Could actually be a bit frightening, though, to witness in real time the impact-effect and power-release of YU55’s high-velocity strike. Would there be any red-glowing molten material formed from the blasted surface area, I wonder? With our satellites average 50 km-thick crust, whatever YU55’s actual mass, there would be no lava lakes, alas, to awe the masses of Earth.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this post – It seems to be spherical although so tiny.

    It is always stated that such bodies would be random in shape. It takes a diameter of a few hundred kilometers for gravity to pull random rubble into a sphere.

    Replies on a comment please.

    Brian.
    Roseland.

    • Melissa Hayes-Gehrke says:

      Yes, the radar image makes it look roughly spherical, but the resolution is pretty bad. A better image would certainly show it’s not perfectly spherical. Even though it’s too small to really have enough gravitational force on itself to make itself spherical, there’s always the random chance that it is roughly spherical.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yes well everyone knows it’s spherical because it’s actually an alien space probe.

  5. J C says:

    Come on Lord!! Redirect to you know where! It is time you take vengeance on this evil and vile place. The few who give you praise and follow your gospel are waiting. The rest, we sorry for them and have tried to get them to follow the path. Sorry, we weren’t good enough to make enough conversions. Anyhow, send thy Comet and send it now. Evil here has taken over and needs to be cleansed. Perhaps your next attempt will be filled with followers who will give you praise and respect. Thank you Lord.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please don’t use God for your own anger and hatred. I don’t know about your god, but mine is a loving God who postpones the end BECAUSE of His Love for mankind, so that more may come to know Him as God BEFORE the end comes and be saved.

      • Anonymous says:

        Postphoned the end because of his love?
        That is your excuse for another failed domesday prediction?

        Every time a prediction based on bible quotes fail, you lose more believers.

      • Anonymous says:

        What are you talking about? I did not make a doomsday prediction of any kind! I agree with you that those who make give a day for the end, etc. are full of themselves. The day passes and they make a different prediction – that’s crazy. I was only saying that the Bible states that God generally delays the end times and Jesus’ return because God wants to allow time for as many as possible to know Jesus as Lord. I can quote the scripture to you if you need me to. Seems you clumped me in with some of those nuts on flimsy evidence – seems a bit unfair, sir!

      • Anonymous says:

        From one perspective, it’s just the extreme end of one fanatical type of religiosity. Though I’m sure the vast majority of religious people are not considered crazy by any standard definition, I would argue that putting a religious fervor -belief – in anything that can’t be tested is also odd.

        The less an idea or notion is grounded in real world testing, the less central I make it to my personal construction of knowledge. Basically, if the idea is on shaky ground, It is easier for me to accept evidence that changes or dismisses an idea. It would take an enormous amount of contrary evidence to convince me Newton’s Law of Gravitation is wrong. Newton’s work is well established. It would take very little to convince me that Coffee is either good or bad for your health. The science is not well established either way.

        Ideas about a deity are on the shakiest ground possible: no ground at all. Worse still, there is no way to change this. To me, God’s have a utility in understanding a specific culture or history. Otherwise they are just superfluous.

      • Anonymous says:

        What are you talking about? I did not make a doomsday prediction of any kind! I agree with you that those who make give a day for the end, etc. are full of themselves. The day passes and they make a different prediction – that’s crazy. I was only saying that the Bible states that God generally delays the end times and Jesus’ return because God wants to allow time for as many as possible to know Jesus as Lord. I can quote the scripture to you if you need me to. Seems you clumped me in with some of those nuts on flimsy evidence – seems a bit unfair, sir!

      • Anonymous says:

        What are you talking about? I did not make a doomsday prediction of any kind! I agree with you that those who make give a day for the end, etc. are full of themselves. The day passes and they make a different prediction – that’s crazy. I was only saying that the Bible states that God generally delays the end times and Jesus’ return because God wants to allow time for as many as possible to know Jesus as Lord. I can quote the scripture to you if you need me to. Seems you clumped me in with some of those nuts on flimsy evidence – seems a bit unfair, sir!

      • Anonymous says:

        Postphoned the end because of his love?
        That is your excuse for another failed domesday prediction?

        Every time a prediction based on bible quotes fail, you lose more believers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Postphoned the end because of his love?
        That is your excuse for another failed domesday prediction?

        Every time a prediction based on bible quotes fail, you lose more believers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please don’t use God for your own anger and hatred. I don’t know about your god, but mine is a loving God who postpones the end BECAUSE of His Love for mankind, so that more may come to know Him as God BEFORE the end comes and be saved.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please don’t use God for your own anger and hatred. I don’t know about your god, but mine is a loving God who postpones the end BECAUSE of His Love for mankind, so that more may come to know Him as God BEFORE the end comes and be saved.

    • Alan says:

      You are beyond pathetic for wishing for doomsday to happen…make it quicker and take your own life if you are so amped for it.

    • Alan says:

      You are beyond pathetic for wishing for doomsday to happen…make it quicker and take your own life if you are so amped for it.

    • Alan says:

      You are beyond pathetic for wishing for doomsday to happen…make it quicker and take your own life if you are so amped for it.

    • Alan says:

      And by the way, you are exactly the type of religious person I absolutely cannot stand. You preach about “love thy neighbor” yet you wish death upon those who aren’t converted. No, shut up…thats EXACTLY what you said. Of course you will try to hide behind some scripture but thats EXACTLY what you said. If anyone needs to be wiped out its people like you…so do us all a favor, head to the nearest gun store, buy a gun, and let it happen. One less idiot in the world to deal with.

      • Anonymous says:

        Alan, that’s kinda what I was trying to say below, maybe more tactfully and without wishing death on the person :-/ I can’t blame you for your passionate response though, because these kind of people can make one so furious. They make Christians look bad. And, in my opinion, way too many of us are like this. Not all are like this. I hope people know that and remember that.

      • Timothy T. Daly says:

        A wee bit too harsh, perhaps, although you were clearly ticked. It is difficult – and I don’t always follow this rule – but I think we have to be wary of gravitating to the level of the dull and ignorant. In my case, I get upset when I think of these so-called christians shaping the future of my grandkids lives.

        Let’s give a big cheer to the “lambs to the slaughter” who who have been brain-washed by the Koch brothers, et al.

    • Alan says:

      And by the way, you are exactly the type of religious person I absolutely cannot stand. You preach about “love thy neighbor” yet you wish death upon those who aren’t converted. No, shut up…thats EXACTLY what you said. Of course you will try to hide behind some scripture but thats EXACTLY what you said. If anyone needs to be wiped out its people like you…so do us all a favor, head to the nearest gun store, buy a gun, and let it happen. One less idiot in the world to deal with.

    • Alan says:

      And by the way, you are exactly the type of religious person I absolutely cannot stand. You preach about “love thy neighbor” yet you wish death upon those who aren’t converted. No, shut up…thats EXACTLY what you said. Of course you will try to hide behind some scripture but thats EXACTLY what you said. If anyone needs to be wiped out its people like you…so do us all a favor, head to the nearest gun store, buy a gun, and let it happen. One less idiot in the world to deal with.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is magical thinking and nonsense. This object is not going to hit Earth. Any agency which directs it to Earth must change its momentum and probably energy as well. These changes occur according to conservation laws and symmetries by physical interactions. The idea that some agency can change this by sheer will is the same sort of magical thinking which goes into presuming Merlin can cast a spell and force matter to move.

      LC

    • Anonymous says:

      This is magical thinking and nonsense. This object is not going to hit Earth. Any agency which directs it to Earth must change its momentum and probably energy as well. These changes occur according to conservation laws and symmetries by physical interactions. The idea that some agency can change this by sheer will is the same sort of magical thinking which goes into presuming Merlin can cast a spell and force matter to move.

      LC

    • Anonymous says:

      This is magical thinking and nonsense. This object is not going to hit Earth. Any agency which directs it to Earth must change its momentum and probably energy as well. These changes occur according to conservation laws and symmetries by physical interactions. The idea that some agency can change this by sheer will is the same sort of magical thinking which goes into presuming Merlin can cast a spell and force matter to move.

      LC

  6. J C says:

    Come on Lord!! Redirect to you know where! It is time you take vengeance on this evil and vile place. The few who give you praise and follow your gospel are waiting. The rest, we sorry for them and have tried to get them to follow the path. Sorry, we weren’t good enough to make enough conversions. Anyhow, send thy Comet and send it now. Evil here has taken over and needs to be cleansed. Perhaps your next attempt will be filled with followers who will give you praise and respect. Thank you Lord.

  7. keith says:

    its trajectory is comming between the earth and moon….but the suns solar flares are expanding as well….if a solar flar comes close enough to the astroid…it could change its trajectory by .0000001…covering the great distance between it and the earth…could be the difference that makes it hit us….

  8. Roger Pearson says:

    Allright so it is not a threat. But I have to ask. The earths gravity holds the moon in place isn’t that right. Asteroid 2005 is much smaller than the moon, what are the chances of it gitting caught in earths gravitational field and locked into place in essence becoming a second satellite or in worse case scenario pulled into earths atmospere and becoming a serious issue an asteroid that size would do extensive amounts of damage. One wonders

    • Anonymous says:

      “what are the chances of it gitting caught in earths gravitational field and locked into place in essence becoming a second satellite or in worse case scenario pulled into earths atmospere…”

      As Don Yeomans points out ““It’s completely safe… no chance of an impact.”

      Given Dr Yeoman’s years of experience with NEOs and his recent pronouncements on the Comet Elenin non-event, I’d trust his statements on this flyby as well.

    • Melissa Hayes-Gehrke says:

      The asteroid is moving too fast. It’s in orbit around the Sun, with roughly the same size orbit as the Earth, which means its orbital velocity is about 30 km/s. The escape velocity from the Earth (at the surface) is 11 km/s. The asteroid cannot be captured by the Earth’s gravity unless it can lose some of its velocity. They only way to do that is to transfer the velocity to another object – but there’s nothing else around, really. So there’s no chance of this.

    • Establishing orbit requires much more precise interactions between bodies than just getting near them. If it were that easy, all the planets in the Solar System would have hundreds if not thousands of orbiting moons.

    • Anonymous says:

      None.
      It moves too fast it can never be captured at that speed.
      In order to be able to get captured and hit earth it must move slower that 217 m/s at its closest point. But it is moving at 13,200 m/s.

    • Anonymous says:

      None.
      It moves too fast it can never be captured at that speed.
      In order to be able to get captured and hit earth it must move slower that 217 m/s at its closest point. But it is moving at 13,200 m/s.

    • Anonymous says:

      None.
      It moves too fast it can never be captured at that speed.
      In order to be able to get captured and hit earth it must move slower that 217 m/s at its closest point. But it is moving at 13,200 m/s.

  9. Robert says:

    Where in the sky, in which constellation, will the asteroid be at its closest point to us?

  10. Robert says:

    Where in the sky, in which constellation, can the asteroid be seen as its closest point to us?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Will the earth’s gravity effect the trajectory of Asteroid 2005 YU55?

    Robert

  12. kate s says:

    actually, what happens if the asteroid happens to be within a solar mass ejection? The sun has the potential for a massive CME at that time, Tuesday eve, as it is right now pending a huge flare and may have more in the offing as today is Saturday, and Tuesday is 3 days away. If the asteroid happens to encounter a massive charge ejected from the sun, what happens? As it passes through will it gain charge? Will it appear like a blue star?

  13. kate s says:

    actually, what happens if the asteroid happens to be within a solar mass ejection? The sun has the potential for a massive CME at that time, Tuesday eve, as it is right now pending a huge flare and may have more in the offing as today is Saturday, and Tuesday is 3 days away. If the asteroid happens to encounter a massive charge ejected from the sun, what happens? As it passes through will it gain charge? Will it appear like a blue star?

  14. Mary says:

    Nothing to see here; move along. So how come NASA’s own website now (as of today, Nov 5) shows the Minimum Orbit Intersection Distance (MOID) for 2005 YU55 as 0.00103961 AU (Astonomical Units, an AU=149,598,000 kilometers), which equals about 15,000 kilometers or 9,000 miles? How come they have raised their “Condition Code” which is their measurement of certainty regarding their projection of the object’s path, to “2” from “0” in the last few days?

    But never mind. Nothing to see here.

  15. Bruce Thomas says:

    Humans will always find something to worry about, Making something as exciting as this a problem is like putting mustard on a banana split , might be pretty but tastes awful

  16. LucineAura says:

    UGHHH!! GUYS SERIOUSLY! Don’t get in a big battle over religion/politics!!! It’s getting pretty old. This is a bloody asteroid that is just going to whizz on by >.< gosh.

  17. Mustafa says:

    if the asteroid hits the earth, how the damage could be?

  18. Mark Stephenson says:

    Time to bring in the tomato plants

Comments are closed.