Categories: Asteroids

Asteroid 2012 KA to Buzz Earth on May 17

[/caption]

On the heels of a bus-sized asteroid that passed harmlessly between Earth and the orbit of the Moon on May 13, another asteroid between 4.5 and 10 meters (14-33 feet) wide will buzz by at about the same distance on May 17, 2012. Asteroid 2012 KA was discovered just today (May 16), and is projected to make its closest approach about 0.0015 AU, or 224,397 kilometers (134,933 miles, .6 lunar distances) from Earth’s surface at 19:43 UTC on Thursday. The asteroid was discovered by the Mt. Lemmon Observatory, and at the time of this writing, is the only observatory that has made any observations. Therefore JPL lists the uncertainty of the orbit as fairly high (9 out of a 1 to 10 scale) but orbital projections from JPL’s Small Body Database website confirms there is no chance this asteroid would hit Earth. However, most stony meteoroids up to a diameter of about 10-meters are destroyed in thermal explosions by plummeting through Earth’s atmosphere.

We’ll provide any updates as they become available.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Nancy_A and and Instagram at and https://www.instagram.com/nancyatkinson_ut/

Recent Posts

A Dying Star’s Last Act was to Destroy all Its Planets

When white dwarfs go wild, their planets suffer through the resulting chaos. The evidence shows…

5 hours ago

The Rings of Uranus and Neptune Could Help map Their Interiors

Mapping the interior of the ice giants is difficult, to say the least. Not only…

7 hours ago

A New Map of Mars, Made From 51,000 Orbital Images

When NASA sent the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to the red planet in 2006, the…

9 hours ago

Cygnus Boosts the International Space Station for the First Time. NASA Can Now Potentially Keep the Station Aloft Without Russia’s Progress Spacecraft

Northrup Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft conducted a successful reboost of the International Space Station over…

12 hours ago

Record ‘Fast Nova’ Flares Over a Single Day

A galactic nova flared briefly into naked eye visibility for a day, before vanishing from…

15 hours ago

A Star has Grown Spiral Arms

Astronomers using the ALMA Observatory have discovered an unusual, massive star near the center of…

1 day ago