Near-Earth Asteroid 2012 TC4 Could Give Us Quite A Headache In 2017 — Near Miss?

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
by Anura Guruge

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Danny Fleming, a mathematician and astronomer gave me a heads up, via e-mail, on this. Thank YOU, Danny.

2012 TC4, as the ‘2012’ in its designation denotes, was discovered in October 2012 though it is POSSIBLE that it has been around for quite some time — though maybe not in its current, very near-Earth orbit.


Click to ENLARGE.

It is an ‘Apollo’ class asteroid (named after the prototype asteroid in this group). Apollos, in their relentless orbit around the Sun, crosses the Earth’s orbit — twice.

Well 2012 TC4 crossed the Earth’s orbit in October 12, 2012 coming quite close to Earth. At their closest they were 58,900 miles apart. That is 1/5 the average distance between the Earth and the Moon (what we call the ‘Lunar Distance‘ (LD)). The LD as such as 0.247 LD.

5 years later, again, coincidentally on the exact date, i.e., October 12, it will get within 0.034 LD of the Earth. That is nearly 7 times closer. Yes, it could get within 8,400 miles from us. That is close.

At that distance there is a very good chance that Earth’s (fairly strong) gravitational pull will capture it and pull it in. In which case WE will get SMACKED. Thought to be about 30 yards across it is NOT a huge asteroid, not large enough to annihilate all of us. But that is still plenty big enough to wreak quite a bit of destruction, especially if it lands near a city.

Not much we can do. It is not like the Earth can duck out of the way.

This orbital chart, using the JPL Small Body Database Browser,
shows that 2012 TC4 ends up right on top of us.


Click to ENLARGE.

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About Anura Guruge

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