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    This animation depicts the safe flyby of asteroid 2012 TC4 as it passes under Earth on October 12, 2017.

    IKBFU Scientists Model the Movement of Asteroid 2012 TC4

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    Scientists of Russia's Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University calculated the orbit of the asteroid 2012 TC4 that is expected to pass by the Earth in the coming days with the help of a tool that can model space phenomena.

    On October 12, 2017, the asteroid 2012 TC4 will whizz by Earth. This small non-spherical asteroid has a diameter of just 13 meters approximately. Even at its closest to our planet, a powerful telescope will be required to observe it. It will come within 50,000 km of the Earth at 6:42 am, which by the yardstick of space is quite close.

    For comparison’s sake, the Moon is just seven times farther away. Very few asteroids get this close to Earth, and each time such near-misses evoke strong emotions. To be sure, the consequences of asteroids can vary. Even this small asteroid may seriously disrupt an entire city due to the enormous speed of its fall. Its size is similar to that of the celestial body that created the Chelyabinsk meteor in February 2013.

    Luckily, astronomers today closely monitor all unwanted guests and the risks of a collision with Earth. Modern software makes it possible to predict the orbits of celestial bodies and forecast the trajectories of their movement. Participants of the Astronomical Community of the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University calculated the orbit of the asteroid 2012 TC4 with the help of Astro-Model – a virtual environment for modeling space phenomena which they developed themselves.

    “The verdict is unequivocal. Although this small asteroid will fly near the Earth, its trajectory will miss our planet and there is no threat that it will fall. These results coincide with the estimates of the world’s leading institutions:  the risk of its collision with our planet is minuscule, no more than several millionths of a percent,” said Alexei Baigashov, the head of the IKBFU Astronomical Community.

    Owing to the efforts of IKBFU scientists, it is already possible to watch the flight of the asteroid 2012 TC4 by our planet in a video simulation of the asteroid’s movement that was modeled with Astro-Model.


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