More precise numbers on 2004MN4 asteroid flyby in 2029

In summary, according to this article, the asteroid will pass Earth at a distance roughly like that of a geosynchronous communication satellite. If you are in the part of europe, asia, africa where it is visible, you might see it when it passes.
  • #1
marcus
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http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/13may_2004mn4.htm?list45222

apparently they've crunched more numbers and can say that the asteroid will pass Earth at altitude of some 30,000 km
shining like a 3rd magnitude star

If I understand correctly, we are being told that it will pass Earth at a distance roughly like that of a geosynchronous communication satellite.

it is about 320 meters wide, so if you are in the part of europe, asia, africa where it is visible you might see it when it passes. the article says visible even where there are city lights

I don't know how much of this new, or how reliable it is. It is a lot more definite than back in 2004 when they were thinking it might run into the Earth and estimates seemed to change daily
 
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I thought they had since backed off that 30k distance, but it's true the estimates have frequently and presumably will continue to change over the next 20+ years. It is very difficult to predict long term orbits of these little rogues. I will be quite nervous if they are still saying 30k in 2028... assuming I'm still lucid.
 
  • #3
Here's an illustration of the latest trajectory.

http://orbitsimulator.com/orbiter/2004mn4may.GIF

I threw this together with data from JPL Horizons. It looks like it did get notched slightly closer in recent weeks. According to JPL, the latest data is a solution generated on May 6, 2005. The double purple line in the image is February's prediction and the May 6 prediction. Approaching Earth, they are virtually identical. After Earth passage, they split apart slightly.

I don't think they're going to change that much between now and 2029. Just a little more of the same of what you see in the image between the Feb prediction and the May prediction. I think they're comfortable that the error bar does not include Earth even though the asteroid's close approach point is only about 30,000 km. When the predicted pass was at abou6 60,000, they were giving it a 1/32 chance of striking. Then, without changing the 60,000 estimate by much they lowered it to something like 1 in 40,000. Then a month later, they moved the close passage point twice as close, to about 30,000, but still maintained the 1 in 40,000 chance of a strike.

I just took this to mean that in December it was 1 in 32 with a really large error bar, then they shrank the error bar enough to exclude Earth, but not the 30,000 km point. Then, in January, they shifted the predicted passage to about 30,000 which was still in the fat part of the error bar of the 60,000 km point. In January, they actually bounced radar off it. That's when they shoved it a little closer, and shrank the error bar as well.
 

Related to More precise numbers on 2004MN4 asteroid flyby in 2029

1. What is the 2004MN4 asteroid and why is it significant?

The 2004MN4 asteroid is a near-Earth asteroid that was discovered in 2004. It is approximately 320 meters in diameter and is classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid due to its close proximity to Earth. It gained attention in 2004 when initial calculations predicted a potential impact with Earth in 2029, which has since been ruled out.

2. How close will the 2004MN4 asteroid come to Earth during its 2029 flyby?

Based on current calculations, the 2004MN4 asteroid will come within approximately 19,000 miles (30,000 kilometers) of Earth during its 2029 flyby. This is closer than the distance of many geostationary satellites in orbit around Earth.

3. What is the likelihood of the 2004MN4 asteroid impacting Earth in the future?

Based on current observations and calculations, there is no significant risk of the 2004MN4 asteroid impacting Earth in the foreseeable future. The asteroid's trajectory has been closely monitored and it has been determined that it will not pose a threat to Earth during its 2029 flyby or subsequent encounters.

4. How has technology advanced our understanding of the 2004MN4 asteroid?

Since its discovery in 2004, new technologies such as advanced telescopes and radar imaging have allowed scientists to gather more precise data on the 2004MN4 asteroid and its trajectory. This has enabled more accurate calculations and predictions, providing a better understanding of the asteroid's potential impact on Earth.

5. Will the 2029 flyby of the 2004MN4 asteroid have any effects on Earth?

No, the 2029 flyby of the 2004MN4 asteroid is not expected to have any significant effects on Earth. Its distance from Earth and trajectory have been determined to not cause any changes to Earth's orbit or gravitational pull. However, this flyby is a rare opportunity for scientists to study a near-Earth asteroid up close, providing valuable insights into the composition and behavior of these types of objects.

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