2018 AH

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2018 AH
2018AH-orbit.png
Orbital diagram of 2018 AH with the planets of the inner Solar System
Discovery [1]
Discovered by ATLAS–MLO
Discovery site Mauna Loa Obs.
Discovery date 4 January 2018
(first observed only)
Designations
MPC designation 2018 AH
NEO · Apollo[1][2]
Orbital characteristics[2]
Epoch 23 March 2018 (JD 2458200.5)
Uncertainty parameter 6
Observation arc 46 days
Aphelion 4.1222 AU
Perihelion 0.9034 AU
2.5128 AU
Eccentricity 0.6405
3.98 yr (1,455 days)
26.398°
0° 14m 50.64s / day
Inclination 12.419°
101.30°
322.92°
Earth MOID 0.00078 AU (0.30 LD)
Physical characteristics
Mean diameter
84–190 m (assumed)[3]
95 m (est. at 0.20)[4]
190 m (est. at 0.05)[4]
0.05–0.3 (assumed)
~13 (peak 2018-01-03)
22.503 ± 0.39044[2]

2018 AH is a sub-kilometer asteroid, classified as near-Earth object of the Apollo group, approximately 100 m (300 ft) in diameter. It was first observed on 4 January 2018, by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) on Mauna Loa and quickly followed-up by many other surveys, with precovery observations found from Pan-STARRS and PTF from the day previous.

It is the largest known asteroid to pass so close to Earth (0.001985 AU (297,000 km; 184,500 mi)) since 2002 JE9 in 1971,[3] and until 2001 WN5 in 2028, although it was only discovered two days after its closest approach on 2 January 2018, at 04:25 UTC. The Tunguska asteroid was likely of a similar size, if not slightly smaller.

Description[edit]

2018 AH has a fairly eccentric orbit, and its distance to the Sun therefore varies from as close as 90% of the Sun-Earth distance to over 4 times that distance. Due to this, among other factors, the asteroid remained undiscovered until its 2018 approach. It is almost always dimmer than magnitude 23, dimmer than most asteroid surveys can detect. During August-October 2013 it approached within ~0.3 AU of Earth and became as bright as magnitude 22.37, still rather dimmer than most survey-discovered asteroids.

2018 Approach[edit]

On its approach to Earth in 2018, 2018 AH had recently passed perihelion and was moving outwards on its orbit. It therefore approached from roughly the direction of the Sun, where it was undetectable to ground-based optical observations. It reached its closest point to Earth at only 45 degrees from the Sun. It was discovered at a more observable elongation of 129 degrees and at a magnitude of 15.7, and was quickly followed up over the next several days due to its brightness. 2018 AH remained brighter than magnitude 23 until late February 2018, and will now be mostly unobservable again until its next Earth approach in December 2021.

2018 AH passed unusually close for such a bright asteroid, at an absolute magnitude of 22.5 (making it approximately 84–190 meters across).[3] The largest asteroid to pass so close to Earth in 2017 was only an absolute magnitude of 24.3 (or about 31–91 meters). Since 1900, the only asteroids larger than 2018 AH known to pass closer than it to Earth are listed below:

Asteroid diameters marked in italics have had their size directly measured.

Designation Date Distance
(thousand km)
H Diameter
(meters)
Tunguska asteroid 1908-06-30 Impact ~23? 60–190
(152680) 1998 KJ9 1914-12-31 232.9 19.4 279–900
2002 JE9 1971-04-11 237.0 21.2 122–393
2018 AH 2018-01-02 297.0 22.5 84–190
(153814) 2001 WN5 2028-06-26 248.7 18.3 921–943
99942 Apophis 2029-04-13 37.8 19.7 310–340
(308635) 2005 YU55 2075-11-08 228.1 21.9 320–400
(456938) 2007 YV56 2101-01-02 238.8 21.0 133–431
(153201) 2000 WO107 2140-12-01 243.6 19.3 427–593
(85640) 1998 OX4 2148-01-22 296.2 21.1 127–411

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2018 AH". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: (2018 AH)" (2018-02-18 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Large asteroid 2018 AH flew past Earth at 0.77 LD, 2 days before discovery". The Watchers – Daily news service | Watchers.NEWS. The Watchers. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Asteroid Size Estimator". CNEOS NASA/JPL. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

External links[edit]