My google news feed is awash with mono-themed articles, including a near Earth asteroid that passed by around election day 2020 in the US.

We can all hope that neither will lead to an extinction level event :-)

My question is about the asteroid itself.

  1. Will 2018 VP1 pass close to the Earth again this century?
  2. Did it before?
  3. Does this current pass have any particularly notable or consequential "keyhole-like" impact on its future orbit?

Cool GIF of several years of trajectory, about 5 MB so too large to embed directly: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Animation_of_2018_VP1%27s_orbit_around_Sun.gif

Background on Keyholes:

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It would have been helpful for US voters to consider the extinction-level event they have some control over. $\endgroup$ – ProfRob Nov 4 '20 at 7:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Pre-encounter position uncertainty was 0.01 au along track, better wait a few days for actual observations. $\endgroup$ – Mike G Nov 4 '20 at 7:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ With an absolute magnitude of 30.9, 2018 VP1 is an extremely tiny Near Earth Object with an estimated size of 1-9 meters, depending on what you assume for the albedo. This is less than half the size of the Chelyabinsk impactor, so worst case is a large fireball in the upper atmosphere $\endgroup$ – astrosnapper Nov 4 '20 at 22:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @astrosnapper Good point! OTOH, it would do serious damage to any satellite it hit. $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Nov 4 '20 at 23:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh The global village has found its new idiot. $\endgroup$ – ProfRob Nov 11 '20 at 7:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.