Newly discovered asteroid 2013 TV135 made a close approach to Earth on Sept. 16 when it came within about 4.2 million miles (6.7 million kilometers). The asteroid is initially estimated to be about 1,300 feet (400 meters) in size and its orbit carries it as far out as about three quarters of the distance to Jupiter’s orbit and as close to the sun as the Earth’s orbit. It was discovered on Oct. 8, 2013, by astronomers working at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory in the Ukraine. As of Oct. 14, asteroid 2013 TV135 is one of 10,332 Near-Earth objects that have been discovered
With only a week of observations for an orbital period that spans almost 4 years its future orbital path is still quite uncertain, but this asteroid could be back in the Earth’s neighborhood in 2032. However, the Near-Earth Object Program Office states the probability this asteroid could then impact Earth is only 1-in 63,000. The object should be easily observable in the coming months and once additional observations are provided to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge Massachusetts, the initial orbit calculations will be improved and the most likely result will be a dramatic reduction, or complete elimination, of any risk of Earth impact.
“To put it another way, that puts the current probability of no impact in 2032 at about 99.998 percent,” said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “This is a relatively new discovery. With more observations, I fully expect we will be able to significantly reduce, or rule out entirely, any impact probability for the foreseeable future.”
NASA detects, tracks and characterizes asteroids and comets passing close to Earth using both ground- and space-based telescopes. The Near-Earth Object Observations Program, commonly called “Spaceguard,” discovers these objects, characterizes a subset of them, and determines their orbits to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our planet.