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Don't Panic: asteroid won't hit Earth but will get close
by Staff Writers
Ithaca NY (SPX) Mar 02, 2016

Sean Marshall.

The asteroid 2013 TX68 will come fairly close to Earth in early March, but the exact time and distance of its closest approach will not be known until after the fact.

Sean Marshall, a fifth-year Cornell University PhD student, works on observations of near-Earth asteroids. He says the closest approach could be within Earth's 'ring' of geostationary satellites, or it could be as far out as 40 times the distance to the Moon.

Marshall says, "2013 TX68 is estimated to be about 100 feet in diameter. Its closest approach could be within Earth's 'ring' of geostationary satellites, or it could be 40 times the distance to the Moon - or anywhere in between.

"Should this asteroid come closer than the geostationary satellites, it would be a rare occurrence - that only happens about once per decade for large asteroids. What we know for sure is that it will not collide with Earth this month, so do not panic."

"The large uncertainty in TX68's orbit makes it difficult to plan observations in advance, but hopefully it will be seen by some of the automated asteroid survey telescopes.

"However, it is possible that TX68 will be so far from Earth that it will be too faint to be seen.

"If TX68 is detected this month, that would greatly reduce the uncertainty in its orbit and allow astronomers to calculate its future trajectory much more accurately."


Related Links
Astronomy at Cornell
Asteroid and Comet Mission News, Science and Technology

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Previous Report
Small Asteroid to Pass Close to Earth March 8
Pasadena CA (JPL) Feb 28, 2016
Additional observations of asteroid 2013 TX68 have been obtained, refining its orbital path and moving the date of the asteroid's Earth flyby from March 5 to March 8. The observations, from archived images provided by the NASA-funded Pan-STARRS asteroid survey, enabled scientists at NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California ... read more

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