Asteroids 2010 RF12 & 2010 RX30 Both Pass Relatively Close to Earth Today

September 9th, 2010 - 1:51 am ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

Sep 8 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Two small asteroids who are on totally different orbits will have passed between the moon and the earth today (Wednesday) with one passing by early this morning and the other scheduled to do a “fly-by” just after quitting time in the Eastern United States.

2010 RX30 zoomed between the earth and the moon, coming within 150,000 miles of Earth in the early morning hours, slipping by unnoticed by most. The second asteroid, 2010 RF12 is expected to scoot within 49,000 miles of earth, a much closer distance, sometime after 5 pm EST.

Both asteroids were first noticed by the Catalina Sky Survey which is located near Tuscon Arizona on Sunday morning, September 5. The discovery was made while routing watching of the skies was being conducted, according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory located in Pasadena, California.

The second asteroid, which has not yet passed us by, is said to be the smallest of the two, and is estimated to be from 20 to 46 feet across. The first one was from 32 to 65 feet across. It is unclear whether they would have been large enough to cause any damage had they hit Earth, but it is doubtful.

Author Jon Voisey said in a ‘Universe Today’ blog, “The majority of the mass for such small objects would burn up in the atmosphere with only small fragments surviving to the ground. For comparison, the estimated size of the object that caused the Tunguska event was estimated to be at least a few tens of meters in diameter at the point it exploded in the atmosphere some few miles up.”

According to manager of the ‘Near Earth Program’, NASA’s Donald Yeomans, “This demonstrates the system’s working on some level, but we need larger telescopes and more of them to find objects that are coming this close.”

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