Asteroid 2005 YU55

November 3, 2011 by staff 

Asteroid 2005 YU55, A close encounter of the harmless type comes next Tuesday, when an asteroid racing aircraft carrier-sized Earth’s past.
The asteroid, called 2005 YU55, come inside 202.000 miles from Earth, closer than the Moon, before compressing more space. Carbon and dark
color, the asteroid is about 1,300 meters wide. Will visit the nearest space rock of this size in more than three decades.

“This is a potentially hazardous asteroid, just a good opportunity to study a” National Science Foundation astronomer Thomas Statler says. NASA and NSF plan a series of telescopes, radar and other observations from Friday, aimed at mapping the asteroid’s surface and chemistry.

“The radar measurements should be pretty spectacular,” says Statler.

“Many of the asteroids are out there, so the more we know about them the better,” says astronomer Phil Plait of Discover magazine blog BadAstronomer. “This is a less clean, but we will learn much about the science of what happens.”

In July, NASA’s Dawn mission went into orbit around the asteroid Vesta 330 km in diameter in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. “Now is a great time to be an asteroid science,” says Braid.

An asteroid similar in size to 2005 YU55 not come this close to Earth again until 2028. Some 1262 “potentially hazardous” asteroids, over 500 meters in diameter, orbiting the Sun in the neighborhood of Earth, NASA said. The asteroid 2005 YU55 (its name implies was discovered in late December 2005) is one of them, but has no chance of hitting Earth, at least for this century. It is close, within about 167,000 kilometers in 2094, according to where they are likely to cross paths with the Earth in its long, from 446 days in orbit around the sun.

“We want to study asteroids so if one looks like we can hit one day, we know what to do about it,” said Statler.

An asteroid the size of 2005 YU55 landing in the ocean would cause an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 and 70 meters high tsunami waves some 60 miles away, says Jay Melosh of Purdue University in Indiana. These impacts are believed to arise once every 100,000 years.

The asteroid 2005 YU55 is in common, but poorly understood “C” class asteroid, highly porous carbon-colored objects, said Don Yeomans, NASA’s expert asteroid.

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