Asteroid 1994 PC1 passes near Earth this week

(ORDO NEWS) — In a universe where all space objects move very slowly, asteroids give us a rare opportunity to observe movement in real time. We have such a chance in the coming days, when the 1.1-kilometer asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 will approach the Earth at a distance of 1.98 million kilometers.

This is about five times the distance from the Earth to the Moon and is very close to the distance to the second Lagrange point of the Earth-Sun system, to which the James Webb Space Telescope is currently heading.

Fortunately, both the Earth and the space telescope mentioned above are safe, because the space rock will not come within dangerous distance of either of these objects, not only this time, but also for the next few centuries.

This asteroid was discovered on the night of August 9, 1994 by astronomer Robert McNaught, who observed it from the Siding Spring Observatory, USA.

The orbit of this asteroid, belonging to the Apollo group, crosses the orbit of the Earth, while the perihelion lies closer to the Sun than the perihelion of the Earth’s orbit, at a distance of about 0.9 astronomical units (1 AU is equal to the average distance from the Earth to the Sun), and aphelion – in the asteroid belt, at a distance of about 1.8 AU. from our star.

The orbital period of this space rock is 572 days. Its orbit is inclined to the plane of the ecliptic at an angle of 33.5 degrees,

Asteroid 1994 PC1 is a class S rock asteroid and is only slightly larger than another well-known near-Earth asteroid, 101955 Bennu, which is the target of NASA’s Osiris-Rex sample return mission from the surface of a space rock. Delivery of valuable cargo to Earth as part of this mission is expected towards the end of next year.


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