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 on it for a bigger version:
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.
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:
by Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero