Monday, June 27, 2011

OT: Close Encounters of a Rocky Kind (2011 MD)

Today, a small asteroid, 2011 MD, made a very close pass by the earth, coming to within a distance of 12,400 km at about 13:30 UTC (June 27). That is well within the distance of geostationary satellites, and even within the distance of GPS satellites in MEO!

This morning, some 5 hours before closest approach, I used the 0.61-meter F/10 Cassegrain of Sierra Stars Observatory (G68) in California, to capture this PHA earthgrazer.

click image to enlarge


This image is a 30 second CCD exposure taken between 08:32:00 and 08:32:30 UTC (June 27, 2011). In these 30 seconds, the fast moving object left a notable bright trail on the image. Star field is in Serpens, image center approximately RA 15h35m57s, dec. +19.441 degrees.

UPDATE: more of my 2011 MD imagery shot on the 28th here.

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