Press Release

Recently Discovered Near-Earth Asteroid Makes Record-breaking Approach to Earth

By SpaceRef Editor
March 18, 2004
Filed under , ,
Recently Discovered Near-Earth Asteroid Makes Record-breaking Approach to Earth

A small near-Earth asteroid (NEA), discovered Monday night by the NASA-funded LINEAR asteroid survey, will make the closest approach to Earth ever recorded. There is
no danger of a collision with the Earth during this encounter.

The object, designated 2004 FH, is roughly 30 meters (100 feet) in diameter and will pass
just 43,000 km (26,500 miles, or about 3.4 Earth diameters) above the Earth’s surface on
March 18th at 5:08 PM EST (2:08 PM PST, 22:08 UTC). (Close approach details here).

On average, objects about the size of 2004 FH pass within this distance roughly once
every two years, but most of these small objects pass by undetected. This particular close
approach is unusual only in the sense that scientists know about it. The fact that an object
as small as asteroid 2004 FH has been discovered now is mostly a matter of perseverance
by the LINEAR team, who are funded by NASA to search for larger kilometer-sized
NEAs, but also routinely detect much smaller objects.

Asteroid 2004 FH’s point of closest approach with the Earth will be over the South
Atlantic Ocean. Using a good pair of binoculars, the object will be bright enough to be
seen during this close approach from areas of Europe, Asia and most of the Southern

Scientists look forward to the flyby as it will provide them an unprecedented opportunity
to study a small NEA asteroid up close.

SpaceRef staff editor.