Asteroid makes close approach to earth

Added by on March 5, 2014

Asteroid 2014 DX110 will safely fly past earth on Wednesday; the asteroid will fly past earth closer than the moon

Asteroid 2014 DX110 will safely fly past earth on Wednesday; the asteroid will fly past earth closer than the moon

A recently discovered asteroid will safely fly past earth on Wednesday; the asteroid will fly past earth closer than the moon.

The asteroid, called 2014 DX110, is 25 m across (about 82 feet) – roughly as high as the ninth floor of a building. It is expected to be at its closest point during its flyby on March 5 at about 21:00 UTC/GMT (5 p.m. US eastern standard time).

The discovery is attributed to the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS), an observatory in Hawaii. The asteroid was discovered using the PS1 telescope located on Mount Haleakala, Hawaii.

The asteroid’s trajectory past earth is based on just four days of observations, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Small-Body database which tracks asteroids, comets, planets, and other objects within the solar system.

According to experts, the asteroid does not pose any risk to the moon or earth – NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory currently lists the probability of impact with the earth at 1 chance in 10,000,000; the probability becomes more remote as more observations are made.

According to the projected path the asteroid will pass through constellation of Camelopardalis at its closest point. Backyard observers are likely out of luck since the asteroid will be too dark to view directly; however, they may be able to detect its movement against the background of stars as the asteroid flies past.

Asteroids like 2014 DX110 are common yet they attract close observation due to the relatively close distance to earth. Asteroid DX110 is also of interest to astronomers due to its relatively fast speed of 14 km/s (over 50,000 km/h or 31,000 mph).

The flyby can be observed online through various outlets including the Virtual Telescope Project which will provide live coverage.

The Pan-STARRS project continually performs a survey of the observable sky to discover and track objects like asteroids. Pan-STARRS compares current and past observations to identify objects. The observatory, which currently has one active telescope – the PS1.

The size of an object in the sky is estimated based on a measurement called absolute magnitude – which was measured at 25.7 for asteroid 2014 DX110.