Earth: asteroid flyby

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
January 30, 2013 - 12:48pm
ScienceCast has some great short videos, educational and fun for kids!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwidzVHvbGI

On Feb. 15th an asteroid about half the size of a football field will fly past Earth closer than many man-made satellites. Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, astronomers have never seen an object so big come so close to our planet.
Comments:

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
January 30, 2013 - 7:51pm
So the Mayans were off by a few weeks, they didn't have calculators ya know.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
January 31, 2013 - 11:55am
No impact. So.. they say. Innocent

I'm trying to find someone in our home schooling group with a telescope.
We'll have Asteroid Night (with pizza)

lol

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
January 31, 2013 - 1:15pm
Hopefully you'll find someone with a telescope but don't be surpised if you don't see the asteroid.  At 8th magnitude it is invisible to the unaided eye which means you'll have to have a telescope that is properly aligned and calibrated to find objects based on their position (or someone really, really good at star hopping).  On top of that, moving at the rate of a degree a minute, it will be moving so fast that you won't really be able to track on it and by the time someone got it in the field of view and was sure they had it, you'd have between 5 and 30 seconds (depending on the characteristics of the telescope) to get someone else up there to look before it was gone and you'd have to start over.

That said, a night out with a telescope is always fun even if you don't see the asteroid and I highly recommend it.  And if you want to see the asteroid, it might be easier a few days before or after as it won't be moving quite as much although it will be fainter.  But again, it is such a faint object that you really have to know exactly what you're looking for.
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TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
January 31, 2013 - 1:32pm
Actually, unless you're headed to the southern hemisphere, you won't be able to see it before closest approach as it is coming in from the south.  You will be able to see it for a while afterwards though as it will be circumpolar (never setting) in the north at that point.

Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine