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Small Asteroid 2009 VA Whizzes By Earth

Date:
November 12, 2009
Source:
NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office
Summary:
A newly discovered asteroid designated 2009 VA, which is only about 7 meters in size, passed about 2 Earth radii (14,000 km) from Earth's surface Nov. 6 at around 16:30 EST. This is the third-closest known (non-impacting) Earth approach on record for a cataloged asteroid.

Trajectory of Asteroid 2009 VA past Earth on November 6, 2009.
Credit: Image courtesy of NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office

A newly discovered asteroid designated 2009 VA, which is only about 7 meters in size, passed about 2 Earth radii (14,000 km) from Earth's surface Nov. 6 at around 16:30 EST. This is the third-closest known (non-impacting) Earth approach on record for a cataloged asteroid.

The two closer approaches include the 1-meter sized asteroid 2008 TS26, which passed within 6,150 km of Earth's surface on October 9, 2008, and the 7-meter sized asteroid 2004 FU162 that passed within 6,535 km on March 31, 2004. On average, objects the size of 2009 VA pass this close about twice per year and impact Earth about once every 5 years.

Asteroid 2009 VA was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey about 15 hours before the close approach, and was quickly identified by the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge MA as an object that would soon pass very close to the Earth.

JPL's Near-Earth Object Program Office also computed an orbit solution for this object, and determined that it was not headed for an impact.

Only thirteen months ago, the somewhat smaller object 2008 TC3 was discovered under similar circumstances, but that one was found to be on a trajectory headed for Earth, with impact only about 11 hours away.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. "Small Asteroid 2009 VA Whizzes By Earth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110173330.htm>.
NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. (2009, November 12). Small Asteroid 2009 VA Whizzes By Earth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110173330.htm
NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. "Small Asteroid 2009 VA Whizzes By Earth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110173330.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

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