Asteroid 2003 SD220 Dangerously Close to Earth on Christmas Eve
Asteroid 2003 SD220 was discovered on 29 September 2003 by LONEOS at Anderson Mesa. Asteroid 2003 SD220 is 2 kilometers long and takes more than 11 days to revolve about its axis once. It takes 275.2 days to revolve around the sun. It made its closest approach to Earth about 10.9 million kilometers on Christmas Evening. The asteroid is designated potentially hazardous to Earth. Due to 28 times moon distance between the asteroid and Earth, this will hopefully not effect the Earth.
Because it comes near to Earth it becomes the interest of NASA as a possible human target, said by Dr. Patrick Taylor. Asteroids are possible known leftovers from the creation of Solar System. NASA’s groups are planning to search for clues or certain information about the creation of planets on asteroids.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Goldstone Solar System Radar and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Green Bank Telescope and Very Long Baseline Array are the observation forms which will collect data from the asteroid. These observations will determine the asteroid’s rotation, shape, surface properties as well as its refinement in its orbit. This type of information will be used to have a good access on its impact hazard.
This close distant approach between the asteroid 2003 SD220 is one first of five predictions which will be encounter in next twelve years. High precision measurement is required to measure the exact distance and the speed of asteroid approaching to Earth. For this observation, the Arecibo Observatory is used. Linda Ford, a Data Analyst participated in asteroid observations, said that their high precision measurement can also allow high resolution images. Dr. Taylor said that their work is cost efficient and can do surveys on hundred more asteroids.
Arecibo Observatory is located in Puerto Rico. It has the world’s largest radio telescope which is operated by International partnership with Ana G. Méndez University System-Universidad Metropolitana and USRA under a cooperative agreement with the NSF.
The Arecibo Planetary Radar program is supported by NASA’s near Earth Object Observation Program.