Here comes another asteroid: asteroid 2010 TD54 to fly by the Earth today at a distance of just 46,000 km

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another asteroid that came out of nowhere is making a super close approach to Earth - this one is called 2010 TD54 and is just 10 metres or so in diameter, so even if it were to hit the Earth it would certainly just explode in the air...though if that were to happen it would be great for meteorite hunters and asteroid tracking as a full day of warning isn't bad.

You can see the orbit of the asteroid here, but even at the highest magnification it's hard to get a good idea of just how close this approach will be. So let's go with another image, the picture from Wikipedia showing the Earth and the Moon to scale in terms of both size and distance. The asteroid will be shown to scale for distance, but of course not for size.

That blue line is my fake depiction of the asteroid's trajectory, and the red dot is where it will be at closest approach.

If you look at the table of close approaches there is another fairly interesting one pretty soon: an asteroid called 2010 TG19 with a much larger diameter of perhaps some 70 metres or so will pass by on 22 October at a distance 1.1 times that of the Earth to the Moon, so about 400,000 km.

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