Mile-wide, potentially hazardous asteroid 2003 SD220 to swoosh by Earth on Saturday

phys.org | 12/20/2018 | Staff
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A potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA), designated 2003 SD220 (or 163899), is expected to fly by the Earth on Saturday, December 22, at around 1:04 UTC. The space rock, estimated to be about a mile wide (1.6 kilometers), will pass by our planet at a distance of approximately 7.34 lunar distances (LD), what corresponds to 1.75 million miles (2.81 million kilometers).

2003 SD220 is an Aten-type asteroid discovered on September 29, 2003, by astronomers of the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth-Object Search (LONEOS) at Anderson Mesa Station near Flagstaff, Arizona. LONEOS was a project designed to discover asteroids and comets, which ran from 1993 to 2008.

SD220 - Magnitude - Sun - Days - Distance

2003 SD220 has an absolute magnitude of 17.3 and orbits the sun every 275 days at a distance of about 0.82 AU (76.2 million miles, or 122.6 million kilometers). Observations conducted with Goldstone Solar System Radar (GSSR) and Arecibo Observatory during the asteroid's previous close approach to Earth almost exactly three years ago, show that it has an elongated shape and is a slow rotator—having a long rotation period some 285 hours.

"We don't know the asteroid's exact size, but the initial radar measurements indicate that it is an elongated object. Its length is well over 1 kilometer, roughly between 1.5 and 2 kilometers, while the shorter axis is roughly 1 kilometer," Paul Chodas, Manager of Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) told Astrowatch.net.

Diameter - Estimate - Measurement - Telescope - Diameter

"The diameter estimate is based on a brightness measurement in the telescope. To get the diameter from that we would really need to know how much light it reflects. This depends on the material properties—which we don't know, but can estimate. From that I would say that it is between 1 and 2 kilometers," said Detlef Koschny, head of the Near-Earth Object (NEO) Segment in the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) program office at...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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