Saturday, May 24, 2014

PHA Asteroid 2014 KP4

The MPEC 2014-K35 issued on May 23, 2014 announced the discovery of a new PHA asteroid officially designated 2014 KP4. This asteroid (~ magnitude 16) was discovered by C. Jacques, E. Pimentel & J. Barros through a 0.20-m f/2.2 Schmidt-Cassegrain + CCD telescope of SONEAR Observatory (MPC code Y00), on images obtained on May 20.2, 2014.

According to the preliminay orbit, 2014 KP4 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 KP4 had a close approach with Earth on May 11, 2014 at rougly 26.2 LD (Lunar Distances = ~384,000 kilometers) or 0.0673 AU (1 AU = ~150 million kilometers).

We performed some follow-up measurements of this object on 2014, May 20.6, remotely from the Q62 iTelescope network (Siding Spring) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + focal reducer. Below you can see an animation showing the fast movement (the object was moving at 6.5 "/min) of 2014 KP4 on the the sky on May 20, 2014. Each frame is a single 15-second exposure. Click on the thumbnail below to see the animation (East is up, North is to the right):

Below you can see the discovery images of 2014 KP4 by SONEAR survey. 

Credit: SONEAR Observatory

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

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