21Jul2012

A Huge Asteroid Will Pass Close This Monday.

An asteroid this big could be classed as a 'city killer'

A city-block size asteroid will fly by Earth this weekend well beyond the orbit of the moon, and you can watch it zip safely by live in an online webcast. Don’t miss this!

The asteroid 2002 AM31 will make its closest approach to Earth on Sunday US July 22 (Aust. 9.30am  Monday 23 July) when it will pass by at a range of about 3.2 million miles (5.2 million kilometers). That’s about 13.7 times the distance between the Earth and the moon.

On Sunda (US Time), the Slooh Space Camera sky watching website will host two live webcasts to offer Internet denizens views of the space rock from telescopes at the Prescott Observatory in Arizona and the Canary Islands, off the west coast of Africa.

Asteroid 2002 AM31 has no chance of hitting Earth this weekend, scientists say, though it is on the watch list as an object that may one day pose a future concern. The space rock is listed as a “potentially hazardous asteroid” by the Minor Planet Center at Cambridge, Mass.

Asteroid 2002 AM31 was discovered in 2002 and is already being tracked by radar by astronomers at NASA’s deep-space radio antenna in Goldstone, Calif., and at the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico for its weekend flyby.

Timelapse of Asteroid 2004 FH's flyby (NASA/JP...

Timelapse of a previous asteroid - its the centre dot being followed by the sequence; the flashnear the end is an artificial satellite. Animation Raoul Behrend, Geneva Observatory, Switzerland.

A July 12 look at the asteroid by the Arecibo observatory radar suggests the asteroid is about 1,115 feet wide (340 meters), according to a Goldstone radar observation planning update.

But a notice from NASA’s Asteroid Watch program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., estimates that the asteroid is more than twice that size, with a diameter of about 2,600 feet (792 meters).

In the US Sunday’s webcasts are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EDT (2330 UT) and 11 p.m. EDT (0300 July 23) GMT). They can be accessed at the Slooh website: http:///www.slooh.com   For Australia: The pass will be around 9.30am  Monday 23 July (See SLOOH link below)

“Near-Earth asteroid 153958 (2002 AM31) represents one of approximately 9,000 whizzing past Earth at any given moment.

“We wanted to highlight this one as it’s only 13.7 lunar distances from Earth and well over one city block big — similar to near-Earth asteroid LZ1 which zoomed past us unexpectedly mid-June,” Slooh Space Camera president Patrick Paolucci said.

Paolucci, Slooh’s Paul Cox and Astronomy Magazine’s Bob Berman will provide commentary during the asteroid flyby webcast, with astronomer Matt Francis of the Prescott Observatory joining for the second session. Source: Huff Post Science

 Go Here for live webcast from SLOOH

David says:

Just listened to you on radio. I live in Temora NSW. Best time to view. I am principal at St Anne’s and would like to let the school community know.

Dave says:

Thanks for listening and fort he inquiry…..For Temora and 200km around. ISS times:

Sat Jul 28 6:30 PM low in the South 2 minutes pass

Sun Jul 29 7:13 PM low in S/W 2 minutes pass

Mon Jul 30 6:20 PM a good 4 minute pass one third above S/SW horizon

Tue Jul 31 7:04 PM 4 minute pass in the high in W/SW

THE BIG ONE – MASSIVE 6 MINUTE PASS.. Wed Aug 01 6:11 PM LOW in S/W

NicoleK says:

How great is it that we can watch this online… Yay!

Thanks for sharing this with us Astro Dave!

Dave says:

Thanks Nic :)

David Watts says:

The title of the article in PM is “How to Mine an Asteroid”

David Watts says:

There is an interesting article in the July issue of Popular Mechanics if anyone is interested.