The Asteroid 2020 QG Sets a New Record Closest “Known” Flyby that Didn’t Hit Our Planet.

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Artist's concept of a near-Earth object. Image: Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

An asteroid made a close approach to Earth on 2020-Aug-16 of 1.45 Earth Radii from our planet’s center. Later that day, it passed thought the field of view of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). Astronomers at ZTF then reported this object to MPC using the observer-assigned designations, ZTF0DxQ. In due time The MPC posted the object to the NEOCP for prompt follow up from observers from around the world. The six observatories reported followup observers and finally on 2020 August 17 at 16:09 UT the MPC Issued MPEC 2020-Q51 : 2020 QG. This MPEC assigned a new provisional designation to the asteroid.

The three-meter, 2020 QC is so small it would not have made thought our atmosphere. It set a new record for closest “known” closest flyby. The 2020 QC flyby surpasses the 2011 CQ1 flyby of 1.86 Earth Radii from our planet’s center. However, it is important to realize many small asteroids make flybys without passing thought the field of view of a NEO observing program and are not counted. Therefore without a doubt, we have closer flybys.

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