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Asteroid with smallest orbit discovered
Posted: Mon, May 24, 2004, 8:21 AM ET (1221 GMT)
Planetary astronomers have discovered an asteroid that travels closer to the Sun than any other asteroid, coming nearly as close to the Sun as the planet Mercury. Astronomers at Lowell Observatory in Arizona discovered the asteroid, designated 2004 JG6, on May 10, and immediately noticed its unusual orbit. The asteroid's orbit lies entirely within the Earth's, coming within 5.6 million kilometers from the orbit of the Earth at aphelion and just 3.2 million kilometers from the orbit of Mercury at perihelion. 2004 JG6 is only the second asteroid discovered to date, after 2003 CP20 last year, that is always closer to the Sun than the Earth. The asteroid is about 500-1000 meters across and poses no impact risk to the Earth.
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