NASA on alert as huge Asteroid 2015 TB145 named Spooky set to pass Earth with Highly Uncertain Orbit.
The asteroid was first observed on 10 October 2015 by Pan-STARRS at an apparent magnitude of 20 using a 1.8-meter Ritchey–Chrétien telescope. On 31 October 2015 the asteroid will pass about 0.0019 AU (280,000 km; 180,000 mi) from the Moon and then pass about 0.0032 AU (480,000 km; 300,000 mi) from Earth.
Astronomers estimate the diameter of 2015 TB145, which is also known as “Spooky,” to be between 950 feet and 2,130 feet (290 to 650 meters). The Halloween flyby will mark the closest known encounter with such a big asteroid until August 2027, researchers said.
The asteroid is on an extremely eccentric and a high inclination orbit,’ NASA explained.
4 days after its discovery NASA gave it a code 9 condition and today, October 22, 2015, it still has a code 8 condition (With 0 being good and 9 being highly uncertain), because of its erratic orbit, NASA isn’t sure where it will go, but the space agency says it’s confident it will not hit Earth.
Latest update from Goldstone Radar Observatory: The asteroid is on an extremely eccentric (~0.86) high inclination (~40 deg) orbit. It has a Tisserand parameter of 2.937 indicating that it may be Cometary In Nature. The encounter velocity is 35 km/s, which is unusually high.
Note: Cometary orbits hint at a large undiscovered object.
Intrigued by the fact that long-period comets observed from Earth seem to follow orbits that are not randomly oriented in space, a scientist at the Open University in the UK is arguing that these comets could be influenced by the gravity of a large undiscovered object in orbit around the Sun.
An asteroid the size of 2015 TB145 would do major damage if it were to slam into Earth. For example, the near-Earth object (NEO) that caused the famous “Tunguska event,” which destroyed 800 square miles (about 2,070 square km) of Siberian forest in 1908, is thought to have been just 130 feet (40 m) or so in diameter — about 10 percent as wide as 2015 TB145
The public will be able to track 2015 TB145 as well, thanks to the online Slooh Community Observatory and Virtual Telescope Project.