World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

List of Earth-crossing minor planets

Article Id: WHEBN0000856382
Reproduction Date:

Title: List of Earth-crossing minor planets  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Asteroid, Earth-grazing fireball, Holocene Impact Working Group, List of minor planets, Asteroid impact avoidance
Collection: Asteroid Groups and Families, Earth-Crosser Asteroids, Lists of Asteroids, Planetary Defense
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

List of Earth-crossing minor planets

Diagram showing different asteroid paths. The yellow band marks the Earth's orbit; the red line marks the asteroid's path.
Outer-grazer(†): middle, bottom
Crosser: right, bottom
Close approach trajectory of 2004 FH in the Earth–Moon system
Flyby of the near-Earth asteroid 2004 FH in March 2004. The other object that flashes by is an artificial satellite. Images were by Stefano Sposetti and composite by Raoul Behrend of Geneva Observatory

An Earth-crosser is a near-Earth asteroid whose orbit crosses that of Earth as observed from the ecliptic pole of Earth's orbit.[1] The known numbered Earth-crossers are listed here. Those Earth-crossers whose semi-major axes are smaller than Earth's are Aten asteroids; the remaining ones are Apollo asteroids. (See also the Amor asteroids.)

An asteroid with an Earth-crossing orbit is not necessarily in danger of colliding with Earth. The orbit of an Earth-crossing asteroid may not even intersect with that of Earth. This apparent contradiction arises because many asteroids have highly inclined orbits, so although they may have a perihelion less than that of Earth, their paths can never cross. An asteroid for which there is some possibility of a collision with Earth at a future date and which is above a certain size is classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA). Specifically, an asteroid is a PHA if its Earth minimum orbital intersection distance (MOID) is <0.05 AU and its absolute magnitude is 22 or less.[2] The concept of PHA is intended to replace the now abandoned strict definition of ECA (Earth-crossing asteroid) which existed for a few years. Determining if an asteroid was an ECA required calculation of its orbits millennia into the future, including planetary gravitational perturbations, to assess whether a collision with Earth was possible and this has proved to be impractical.[3]

Having a small MOID is not a guarantee of a collision. On the other hand, small gravitational perturbations of the asteroid around its orbit from planets that it passes can significantly alter its path. For instance, 99942 Apophis will approach Earth so closely in 2029 that it will get under the orbit of the Earth's geostationary satellites. The Earth will change the trajectory of Apophis and the result may be an even closer approach in the future, possibly 2036. It is not currently possible to accurately predict the path of Apophis subsequent to the 2029 encounter because its present orbit is not yet known to a sufficiently high precision—very small differences prior to the planetary encounter can produce large differences in orbit after the encounter.[4]

Of the Earth-crossing asteroids, 3753 Cruithne is notable for having an orbit that has the same period as Earth's.


  • List 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Notes: † outer-grazer

See also


  1. ^ Report of the Task Force on potentially hazardous Near Earth Objects, p49, Department of Trade and Industry (UK), September 2000, Pub 4990/5k/9/00/NP.URN00/1041, retrieved online, 16 May 2009.
  2. ^ "Near Earth Object Program", National Aeronautics and Space Administration, retrieved online 3 May 2009.
  3. ^ Brian G. Marsden, "Press Information Sheet:Potentially Hazardous Asteroids", Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, retrieved online 3 May 2009.
  4. ^ Dr. Tony Phillips, "Friday the 13th, 2029", Science@NASA, retrieved online May 3, 2009.

External links

  • Very Close Approaches (<0.01 AU) of PHAs to Earth 1800–2200
  • Upcoming Close Approaches (<0.10 AU) of Near-Earth Objects to Earth
  • Table of next close approaches to the Earth
  • Small Asteroids Encounter List
  • Minor Body Priority List
  • IAU-MPC Close Approaches to the Earth within 0.2 AU
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.