A potentially dangerous asteroid is preparing for the Earth’s flight

A potentially dangerous asteroid is preparing for the Earth’s flight

On December 22, a potentially dangerous asteroid 2003 SD220 (163899) should fly past the Earth. The space-wide rock is pulled out by 1.6 km and flies past our planet at a distance of 2.81 million km (7.34 Earth-Moon distances).

The 2003 SD220 is an Aton-type asteroid discovered on September 29, 2003 from the Lowell Observatory. We are talking about the project LONEOS, which was engaged in the search for comets and asteroids in 1993-2008. 2003 SD220 in absolute value reaches 17.3 and rotates around the Sun with a period of 275 days with a distance of 0.92 a. e. Observations of the GSSR radar and the Arecibo Observatory during the previous close approach to Earth (almost 3 years ago) showed that the object is endowed with an elongated shape and rotates slowly (the period is 285 hours).

The exact length is unknown, but can be drawn out at 1.5-2 km. The diameter estimate is based on measuring the brightness in a telescope (the amount of reflected light). Indicators depend on material properties. During the flight on December 22, the asteroid will rush past us at a relative speed of 6.2 km / s. It is potentially dangerous, but astronomers exclude the possibility of collision. Scientists have studied the trajectory of the 2003 SD220 well, so for now there are no risks for the next 100 years. Specific passage will allow to clarify all the data and exclude any possibility of an unpleasant meeting in the future.

From November 24, 2018, the Goldstone Observatory's radar monitors the asteroid and will continue surveillance on Saturday. The object is also listed in the target list of Arecibo and other ground-based telescopes, such as the VLBA array. Researchers hope to get high-quality images and new data on size and shape. Perhaps it will be better to understand the surface features, such as the presence of craters and boulders.

The next close flight is scheduled for December 17, 2021. Then the 2003 SD220 will approach the Earth by 5.6 million km. Potentially dangerous asteroids are objects with a size of more than 100 m and an approximation of 7.5 million km to our planet. Now there are more than 19300 asteroids in this list. Only in December found 93 newcomers.

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