NASA discovered a new potentially hazardous asteroid named 2013 YP139 on 29 December 2013. It was confirmed by the NASA on 15 January2014.
It was first discovered by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE). The Researchers at the University of Arizona used the Spacewatch telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory southwest of Tucson to confirm the discovery.
The 2013 YP139 is about 43 million kilometers from Earth. On the basis of Infrared brightness, it is found to be 650 meters in diameter and extremely dark like a piece of coal. NEOWISE‘s sophisticated software picked up the moving object against a background of stationary stars.
The asteroid circles the Sun in an elliptical orbit titled to the plane of solar system. It is possible for its orbit to bring it as close as 482803 km from Earth, a little more than the distance to the Moon. But it will not come that close within the next century.
NEOWISE was originally called as Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) which made the most comprehensive survey to date of asteroids and comets.
In 2010 and early 2011, WISE discovered more than 34000 asteroids and characterised 158000 throughout the solar system. Its reactivation in September 2013 followed 31 months in hibernation.
What: 2013 YP139
When: 15 January 2014