Near Earth Object 2020 GH4

April 13, 2020

There is a class of asteroids called NEO’s (Near Earth Objects).  As the name implies they hang around where the Earth does.  None have been found to threaten the Earth with collision, but some come close – if a quarter million miles may be considered “close”.

On April 15th 2020 an NEO designated 2020 NH 4 will pass closer to the Earth than the Moon.  Since its closest approach is still over two hundred thousand miles – about 25 Earth diameters – it is nothing to worry about.  The diagram in figure 1. Shows its trajectory through the Earth-Moon system. 

There is a subclass of NEOs called “Potentially Hazardous Objects” (PHOs), but that requires a diameter of 140 meters and this one is only 18 meters (59 feet) across. 

Figure 1: The Earth, the moon and 2020GH 4

To answer the inevitable question, yes this asteroid, had it hit the Earth, would have made a very big explosion.

To close on a comforting thought, NASA has a Planetary Defense Coordination Office and there are ways to use existing technology to avoid such things.

Use the “Reply” window below for questions, please. If the reply window is not visible, just click on the title at the top of the page. That will bring up the individual post instead of the categorical collection – and with it, a reply window.

Hasta Luego, Steve

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