Monday, January 11, 2010

NEO 2010 AL30 Close Approach

MPEC 2010-A59 issued on on 2010, Jan. 11 announces the discovery by Linear survey of a new object designated 2010 AL30.

According to the preliminary orbit, 2010 AL30 will approach Earth at about 0.34 lunar-distance at 1248 UTC on 13 Jan. 2010 at magnitude 14 and it will be moving at about 10 arcsec/sec. We have been able to follow this object while it was on the neocp. Our image:


Click here for a bigger version:

http://bit.ly/8fBlvC

The object has a value of H=27.0 (about 10/15 meters) and has an orbital period of 1.00 yr. On Minor Planet Mailing List, there was some early speculation that the object could be a man-made object rather than a natural one. But according to Alan W. Harris : "..it is unlikely to be artificial, it's orbit doesn't resemble any useful spacecraft trajectory, and its encounter velocity with the Earth is not unusually low, around 9.5 km/sec "v_infinity". Perfectly ordinary Earth-crossing orbit"

The radar team at Goldstone is attempting to schedule time for radar observations of 2010 AL30 early on January 13. The pointing uncertainties are currently large, so optical astrometry is required.


UPDATE - JANUARY 12, 2010


We have been able to follow-up 2010 AL30 on Jan. 12.37 through the GRAS network, using a scope located in Mayhill (NM). Below you can see our image obtained by co-adding of 16 unfiltered exposures, 10-seconds each obtained by means of a 0.25-m, f/3.4 reflector + CCD.



Click here for a bigger version:

http://bit.ly/8BoHLM

2010 AL30 has been classified in the JPL Small-Body Database as an Apollo-type asteroid. Apollo are Near-Earth asteroid with orbits that cross the Earth's orbit similar to that of 1862 Apollo.

Please see our new post for latest image & video of 2010 AL30 taken few hours before the close approach:

http://remanzacco.blogspot.com/2010/01/2010-al30-close-approach-video-image.html

by Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero

12 comments:

Francisco S... said...

That's CLOSE!! I am surprised I haven't seen anything in the newspapers.All I see is about Apophis that will pass in 2029, but this is the closest distance after Apophis.

Jenny said...

Will it be possible to see this without any special equipment and, if so, where and when would I look for it?

Team said...

@Jenny

Even if astronomically speaking this is a very close approach, the asteroid, due to its small dimension, will reach at its brightest magnitude ~14 which is far too faint to be seen without a telescope.

Thanks for your comment.

Ciao,
Ernesto

Team said...

@Francisco

This object has been discovered only few hours ago. Anyway in the meantime the news has reached the newspaper websites too.

Please consider that Apophis with its ~300 meters is many times bigger than 2010 AL30 (~10 meters). Apophis on its 2029 close approach will become as bright as magnitude 3.3 and so visible to the naked eye.

Thanks for your comment.

Ciao,
Ernesto

gurggle said...

This may sound dumb but couldn't this be the lost US Mars probe launched several years ago. If memory serves me right there was a question if the probe even burned long enough to leave the area around earth.

Anonymous said...

is this a visitation from an alien spacecraft, is it slowing down or anything unusual ?

Team said...

@Anonymous

Absolutely not!! This a small asteroid of Apollo type. These asteroids have orbit that brings them into close proximity with the Earth.

For more information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-Earth_object

Ciao,
Ernesto

Team said...

@gurggle

No, this is not the US Mars probe.

Soon after its discovery, there was some early speculation that the 2010 AL30 was a man-made object, but according to Nasa experts 2010 AL30 is a small Near-Earth asteroid of the Apollo Type.

Ciao,
Ernesto

Il Mango said...

complimenti!!!! Bellissimo

Anonymous said...

The object passed earth between 15.20 and 17.40 13.01.2010 ?
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake centred approximately 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, which struck at 16:53:09 or 04:53:09 p.m. local time (21:53:09 UTC) on Tuesday, 12 January 2010.[6] The earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi). The United States Geological Survey recorded a series of aftershocks, fourteen of them between magnitudes 5.0 and 5.9. The International Red Cross has stated that as many as 3 million people have been affected by the quake, with as many as 100,000 deaths according to the prime minister.

Could it be the node ring of the astroid that caused the quake in Haiti ? Is this Wormwood \ Planet X related ?

Team said...

@Anonymous

No, 2010 AL30 close approach is NOT related with the Haiti earthquake.

Objects this size pass this close to the Earth (~100,000 km) about once a month, so the most unusual thing about 2010 AL30 is that we were lucky enough to spot it in advance.

Ciao,
Ernesto

Anonymous said...

Were you able to get more photos as it came closer? Honestly I would never have taken nasa's word for it.