100ft Long Asteroid To Pass Within Earth's Orbit

12:49 PM, Oct 11, 2012   |    comments
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Atlanta, GA (written by Mike Francis, WXIA) -- An asteroid called 2012 TC4 was discovered on October 4th in the night sky.

After its orbit was calculated it was determined that the asteroid would pass within 59,000 miles of the earth.

The size of the asteroid is between 16 and 29 meters, in other words it is the size of a 10 story building! The asteroid will be visible in the sky late tomorrow night, or early Friday morning, at around 12:30am.

Here are some very geeky details on this asteroid:

2012 TC4 has an estimated size of 13 m - 29 m (H=26.5) and it will have a close approach with Earth at about 0.25 LD (Lunar Distances = ~384,000 kilometers) or 0.0006 AU (1 AU = ~150 million kilometers) at 0531 UT on 12 Oct. 2012. This asteroid will reach the magnitude 13.7 on October 12 around 02 UT. 2012 TC4 is a potential radar target later this week and astrometry is requested.

We performed some follow-up measurements of this object, from the H06 ITelescope network (near Mayhill, NM) on  2012, Oct. 09.3, through a 0.25-m f/3.4 reflector + CCD. Below you can see our image, stack of 30x60-second exposures, taken with the asteroid at magnitude ~17.2 and moving at 5.33"/min. At the moment of the close approach on October 12, 2012 TC4 will move at ~ 900"/min. Click on the image below to see a bigger version. Below you can see a short animation showing the movement of 2012 TC4. Click on the thumbnail for a bigger version. The map below (calculated on the Armagh Observatory website) shows all know asteroids in the neighbourhood of the Earth updated to October 08, 2012. The red oval surrounding the earth represents 3.84 million kilometres (projected onto the plane). This is a distance equal to 10 Lunar distances. Any object currently inside this distance will be highlighted in red, in this case 2012 TV & 2012 TC4. Click on the image for a bigger version.

by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero, Nick Howes

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