lundi 4 septembre 2017

Asteroid zips by

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Sept. 4, 2017

On 1 September 2017, at 12:05 GMT (14:05 CEST), the rocky near-Earth asteroid 3122 Florence made a relatively close approach to Earth, passing by at 7 060 160 km, or about 18.4 lunar distances.

This near-Earth object does not often come so close: the asteroid had last been similarly close in 1930, and will not be really close again until 2057. While it usually passes us at a safe distance, orbital disturbances in the (distant) future could bring it closer, and the size of the object is such that it could be of future impact concern.

3122 Florence

Astro-photographer Marco Langbroek, based in Leiden, the Netherlands, obtained this image of Florence on Saturday evening. He writes:

“Florence became quite bright during this close pass, and was visible in binoculars at a maximum brightness of about magnitude +8.7 just before the moment of closest approach.”

“About 1.5 days after the moment of closest approach, near local midnight of September 2-3, I imaged the fast-moving asteroid from Leiden with my Celestron C6 telescope. It was about mag +9.1 at that time. This stacked image was made from 87 images (each an exposure of 10 seconds with a 5 second interval) taken over a 17-minute period between 22:31:32 - 22:48:47 UTC on 2 September.”

“The asteroid was at a distance of 0.048 Astronomical Units at that time and moving fast through Delphinus, at an angular speed of about 22".5 per minute.”

Access more details and a movie of the flyby via Marco's blog, SatTrackCam Leiden:

Related article:

Large Asteroid to Safely Pass Earth on Sept. 1

Image, Text, Credits: ESA/M. Langbroek.


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