On November 8, Asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass between the Earth and the Moon at a closest approach of 324,600 km.  Asteroid 2005 YU55 is roughly spherical with a diameter of 400m. According to NASA, there are no anticipated hazards to Earth from the flyby event, including gravitational or tidal disruptions.

Spaceguard, more formally known as the Near-Earth Object Observations Program, is responsible for discovery and tracking of Near Earth Objects that could pose potential safety concerns. Spaceguard is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. JPL will hold a live broadcast and chat on November 1 to answer public questions regarding YU55 and how NASA monitors such events.

Animation of the trajectory for Asteroid 2005 YU55 for November 8-9. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech).

NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) will monitor YU55 beginning on Nov 4 from the  Goldstone, CA DSN facility. The Arecibo, Puerto Rico radar facility will begin tracking on Nov 8 during the period of closest approach.

The next known approach of an asteroid this large will be in 2028. Spaceguard continues to monitor near earth objects such as Apophis, which captured public attention in 2009 when scientists published a 2% probability of collision with Earth. Apophis’ orbital drift may result in planetary hazard in the year 2036. This prediction has spawned research in planetary collision management.

In the video below, an artist’s rendition of YU55’s closest approach is shown:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhW7CQRlPZk]

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Merryl Azriel

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.