Asteroid Passes Close to Earth, Another to Pass Tomorrow

Posted at 16:31 under a-noticias-ingles-tiempo

Washington, Dec 11 (Prensa Latina) A newly discovered small asteroid approached Earth today, pending the passage of the larger Toutatis this morning, U.S. experts said.

The first asteroid to pass by was the XE54 in 2012, which transits between this planet and the orbit of the moon at a distance of 226,000 kilometers, without representing any danger, astronomers explained.

With a diameter of 28 meters, the rock caused a phenomenon similar to a full moon eclipse by the Earth�s shadow, something expected by Pasquale Tricarico, from the U.S. Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona.

Now the telescopes are focused on Toutatis, an objective about five kilometers in diameter, which will be located 6.9 million kilometers from the planet (18 moon distances).

However, this is not the first time that it will pass so closely because it does the same every four years around this time, but at other times, such as in 2004, it was much closer.

In that year it was 1.55 million kilometers away and could be seen with small telescopes, experts said.

Toutanis was discovered by C. Pollas in Caussols (France) in 1989, and since then it has been seen and studied in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008.

It travels an eccentric orbital path, that moves it through the belt of asteroids between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Researchers are preparing for this new visit and thanks to powerful existing telescopes, they expect to get higher resolution images.

The next visit of Toutanis to Earth will occur in late 2016 and early 2017.