(29075) 1950 DA

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
(29075) 1950 DA
Arecibo radio telescope radar image of 1950 DA taken on March 3, 2001, from a distance of 0.052 AU (22 lunar distances)
Discovered by Carl A. Wirtanen
Discovery date February 22, 1950[1]
2000 YK66[2]
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 2011-Aug-27 (JD 2455800.5)
Aphelion 2.5618 AU
(383.23 Gm)
Perihelion 0.83529 AU
(124.95 Gm)
1.6985 AU
(254.09 Gm)
Eccentricity 0.50823
808.59 d (2.21 yr)
21.30 km/s
Inclination 12.175°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 1.39 x 1.46 x 1.07 km; mean: 1.3 km[3]
Mass >4×1012 kg[4]
Mean density
>3.5 g/cm³[3]
<0 at equator bulge, due to fast rotation[3]
0.0884 d (2.1216 h)[1]
Albedo 0.07[5]
Spectral type
E or M

(29075) 1950 DA is a near-Earth asteroid. Among asteroids more than 1 km in diameter, it is notable for having the highest known probability of impacting Earth.[6] In 2002, it had the highest Palermo rating with a value of 0.17 for a possible collision in 2880.[7] In 2013, the odds of an Earth impact in 2880 were estimated as 1 in 4,000 (0.025%) with a Palermo rating of −0.83.[8] In 2014, the odds of an Earth impact were further reduced to only 1 in 20,000 (0.005%) with a Palermo rating of −1.81.[6] 1950 DA is not assigned a Torino scale rating, because the 2880 date is over 100 years in the future.

Discovery and name[edit]

1950 DA was first discovered on February 23, 1950, by Carl A. Wirtanen at Lick Observatory.[1] It was observed for seventeen days[9] and then lost because the short observation arc resulted in large uncertainties in Wirtanen's orbital solution. On December 31, 2000, it was recovered as 2000 YK66 and two hours later was recognized as 1950 DA.[9]


Asteroid 1950 DA, Arecibo Observatory radar image

On March 5, 2001, 1950 DA made a close approach to Earth of 0.0520726 AU (7,789,950 km; 4,840,450 mi).[10] It was studied by radar at the Goldstone and Arecibo observatories from March 3 to 7, 2001.[9]

The studies showed that the asteroid has a mean diameter of 1.3 km, assuming that 1950 DA is a retrograde rotator.[8] Optical lightcurve analysis by Lenka Sarounova and Petr Pravec shows that its rotation period is 2.1216 ± 0.0001 hours. Due to its short rotation period and high radar albedo, 1950 DA is thought to be fairly dense (more than 3.5 g/cm³) and likely composed of nickeliron.[3] In August of 2014, scientists from the University of Tennessee determined that the asteroid is in fact a rubble pile and it is van der Waal forces of molecular cohesion keeping it together.[11]

Possible Earth impact[edit]

That 1950 DA has one of the best-determined asteroid orbital solutions is due to a combination of:[9]

Main-belt asteroid 78 Diana (~125 km in diameter) will pass about 0.003 AU (450,000 km; 280,000 mi) from 1950 DA on August 5, 2150.[9] At that distance and size, Diana will perturb 1950 DA enough so that the change in trajectory is notable by 2880 (730 years later). In addition, over the intervening time, 1950 DA's rotation will cause its orbit to slightly change as a result of the Yarkovsky effect. If 1950 DA continues on its present orbit, it may approach Earth on March 16, 2880, though the mean trajectory passes many millions of kilometers from Earth, so 1950 DA does not have a significant chance of impacting Earth. As of 19 August 2014, the probability of an impact in 2880 is 1 in 20,000 (0.005%).[12] (A collision is likely to be ruled out as more data becomes available).

The energy released by a collision with an object the size of 1950 DA would cause major effects on the climate and biosphere, which would be devastating to human civilization. The discovery of the potential impact heightened interest in asteroid deflection strategies.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 29075 (1950 DA)" (last observation: 2010-10-04; arc: 60.61 years). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 2011-11-19. 
  2. ^ "MPEC 2001-A26 : 1950 DA = 2000 YK66". IAU Minor Planet Center. 2001-01-04. Retrieved 2011-11-19.  (K00Y66K)
  3. ^ a b c d "Physical modeling of near-Earth Asteroid (29075) 1950 DA" (PDF). NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. 4 May 2007. Retrieved 2015-05-27. 
  4. ^ A reported volume of 1.14 km³ * density of 3.5 g/cm³ yields a mass (m=d*v) of 3.99×1012 kg.
  5. ^ a b "NeoDys Near Earth Objects Dynamic Site" (Physical Info). Retrieved 2015-05-27. 
  6. ^ a b "Sentry Risk Table". NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. 9 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-10. 
  7. ^ "Asteroid 1950 DA". NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  8. ^ a b Farnocchia, Davide; Chesley, Steven R. (2013). "Assessment of the 2880 impact threat from asteroid (29075) 1950 DA". arXiv:1310.0861. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Giorgini, J. D.; Ostro, S. J; Benner, L. A. M.; Chodas, P.W.; Chesley, S.R.; Hudson, R. S. et al. (2002). "Asteroid 1950 DA's Encounter With Earth in 2880: Physical Limits of Collision Probability Prediction" (PDF). Science 296 (5565): 132–136. Bibcode:2002Sci...296..132G. doi:10.1126/science.1068191. PMID 11935024. 
  10. ^ "JPL Close-Approach Data: 29075 (1950 DA)" (last observation: 2010-10-04; arc: 60.61 years). Retrieved 2011-11-19. 
  11. ^ "UT Research uncovers forces that hold asteroid together". U of Tennessee. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  12. ^ "29075 (1950 DA) Earth Impact Risk Summary". NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-01. 

External links[edit]