If you haven’t heard, a Near Earth Object (NEO) asteroid (named asteroid 2014 RC) was detected this week and will be making a close approach on Sunday, September 7. Based on information I saw on CNN about the flyby; I was able to put together a scenario in STK.
I downloaded the JPL-published ephemeris from the HORIZONS
system and brought it into the software for some basic analysis. On closest approach, it will be less than 34,000 km from the Earth (closer than Geostationary satellites), but the South to North trajectory does not take it through the equatorial plane until it is well out of the way. In other words, it is unlikely that any football games will be interrupted from a 20-meter asteroid smashing your favorite broadcast satellite.
However, it is still a pretty close call. You can download the scenario from the STK Data Federate
(username: anonymous) and explore the trajectory of asteroid 2014 RC and its relation to the Earth as well as satellites and debris in orbit. To fully explore this scenario, a license for STK Conjunction Analysis Tools
is needed, request one here
. **Update** Our friends John Carrico and Mike Loucks used this scenario as the base for their analysis of the Meteorite crater in Nicaragua. Check it out in their latest blog post on The Astrogator's Guild