A week has passed since Module 0. Astronomers around the world have tracked 2022 TTX nightly using large optical telescopes, and the resulting new observations have have enabled a more accurate orbit to be determined for the asteroid.
The impact probability, instead of falling to zero, has continued to rise. It has now reached 71%.
If 2022 TTX impacts, the impact will occur on August 16, 2022 at about 18:00 UTC.
If 2022 TTX is on a collision course with Earth, the impact is expected to occur somewhere within a wide corridor spanning across the globe, from the mid-South Pacific Ocean, across the continental United States, to the mid-South Atlantic Ocean. The following diagram depicts this predicted impact region, with different shades of red indicating the relative probability levels. Also shown in this image are nearly a thousand random impact cases consistent with the probability levels within this region. Note that the impact region shows only the possible locations of the impact itself: this image does not show the potential damage risk region, which covers a larger area.
|This image shows the predicted impact region for 2022 TTX, as of Feb. 23, 2022|
|This image zooms in on the portion of the predicted impact region that cross the U.S.|
A Google Earth kml file for the impact region shown above is available here.
A Google Earth kml file for the impact cases shown above is available here.
Continued searching through archival sky survey images taken from the 10 days before discovery yielded a few more pre-discovery detections of 2022 TTX (“precoveries”), which contributed to the latest orbit accuracy improvement. The observations now span about 3 weeks of the asteroid’s motion. The archives are still being searched for possible pre-discovery observations of the region of sky the asteroid may have traversed 7 years ago, when it made a distant pass by our planet.
2022 TTX has not approached very much closer since it was discovered. It is now about 34 million miles (55 million kilometers) from Earth. The asteroid will make a very distant flyby of our planet on March 1, and spend another 2 months very distant and very faint. The asteroid should remain observable during the next few months, but large telescopes will be required (at least 2-meter and 4-meter apertures).