Near-Earth asteroid 2011 MD will pass only 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) above the
Earth's surface on Monday June 27 at about 9:30 EDT.
The asteroid was discovered by the LINEAR near-Earth object discovery team
observing from Socorro, New Mexico.2011 MD will reach its closest Earth approach point in extreme southern latitudes
(in fact over the southern Atlantic Ocean). This small asteroid, only 5-20 meters in diameter, is in a
very Earth-like orbit about the Sun, but an orbital analysis indicates there is no chance it will
actually strike Earth on Monday. The incoming trajectory leg passes several thousand kilometers
outside the geosynchronous ring of satellites and the outgoing leg passes well inside the ring.
One would expect an object of this size to come this close to Earth about every 6 years on average.
For a brief time, it will be bright enough to be seen even with a modest-sized telescope.