Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bright Close Approach: 2003 UV11

The asteroid designated 2003 UV11 was discovered on October 21, 2003 by B. Skiff during the LONEOS survey with a 0.59-m Schmidt. According to its absolute magnitude (H=19.3) this object has an estimated diameter of roughly 400-500 meters, so it is a relatively large near-Earth asteroid. 2003 UV11 will have a close approach with Earth on 2010 October 30 when it will be within 0.013 AU (~5 lunar distances). The asteroid will reach a magnitude around 12 over the next few days (28/30 October 2010), becoming an easy target for small-medium sized telescopes + ccd.

We have been able to follow-up 2003 UV11 on October 28 at 07:00UT (01:00am local time) through the GRAS network, using a scope located in Mayhill (NM). Below you can see our animation composed of 15 unfiltered exposures, 10-seconds each obtained by means of a 0.25-m, f/3.4 reflector + CCD:

Please click on the thumbnail for the bigger version (~15MB size):

While this is a composite image obtained by adding 15x10sec exposures images:

Please click here for a bigger version of this image.

When we shoot our image this rock was at 0.030 AU from Earth and speeding at about 30"/min, shining at about magnitude 12.3. At the moment of its close approach on October 30, this object will be moving roughly at 160"/min.

2003 UV11 will be observed with the Arecibo and Goldstone radars on Oct. 30, 2010, when it will be a very strong radar target.

By Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero

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