Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Close Approach of PHA Asteroid 2014 MF6

The asteroid 2014 MF6 was discovered (at magnitude ~17.0) on 2014, June 23.3 by Catalina Sky Survey (MPC code 703) with a 0.68-m Schmidt + CCD.

According to the preliminay orbit, 2014 MF6 is an Apollo type asteroid. This class of asteroids are defined by having semi-major axes greater than that of the Earth (> 1 AU) but perihelion distances less than the Earth's aphelion distance (q < 1.017 AU). It is also flagged as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid". PHA are asteroids larger than approximately 100m that might have threatening close approaches to the Earth (they can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU).

2014 MF6 has an estimated size of 190 m - 420 m (based on the object's absolute magnitude H=20.7) and it will have a close approach with Earth at about 9.1 LD (Lunar Distances = ~384,000 kilometers) or 0.0233 AU (1 AU = ~150 million kilometers) at 1939 UT on 2014, July 09. This asteroid will reach the peak magnitude ~15.3 on the period from 06 to 09 July 2014.

We performed some follow-up measurements of this object on 2014, July 09.4, remotely from the Q62 iTelescope network (Siding Spring, AU) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + focal reducer). Below you can see our image taken with the asteroid at magnitude ~15.3 and moving at ~ 40.43 "/min.  Click on the image below to see a bigger version. North is up, East is to the left (the asteroid is trailed in the image due to its fast speed).

Below you can see a short animation showing the movement of 2014 MF6 (three consecutive 60-second exposure). Click on the thumbnail below to see the animation (East is up, North is to the right):

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

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