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Meteor outburst possible on May 15 as Earth passes through a debris field created by asteroid 2006 GY2

asteroid 2006 gy2 orbit diagram

On May 15, 2022, Earth is expected to pass through a debris field created by asteroid 2006 GY2, potentially creating a meteor outburst.

“While the density of debris field is unknown, the fact that this object is a double minor planet may provide a dense stream of debris,” Robert Lunsford wrote for the International Meteor Society.1

The closest approach will take place at 10:20 UTC on May 15, making it ideal for viewing in the southwestern United States and Mexico. Unfortunately, with the moon only one day from being full, any faint meteors will most likely be obscured by intense moonlight.

“The radiant is expected to be located northwestern Hercules, 3 degrees east of the 4th magnitude star known as tau Herculis,” Lunsford said, adding that the estimated meteor entry velocity is 36 km/s, which is of medium speed and similar to that of the Geminid meteors.

asteroid 2006 gy2 orbit diagram may 15 2022
Image credit: CNEOS

Asteroid 2006 GY2 was discovered on April 9, 2006, by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) near Socorro, New Mexico.

This is a double minor planet with the main body estimated at 400 m (1 312 feet) and the secondary at 80 m (262 feet).

Its next close approach to Earth will take place at 01:08 UTC on April 21, 2039, at a distance of 168 LD.2

References:

1 Possible Meteor Outburst on 15 May 2022 – IMO – May 10, 2022

2 Asteroid 361852 (2006 GY2) at CNEOS – Accessed on May 11, 2022

Featured image credit: CNEOS

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