Friday, January 27, 2012

2012 BX34 - Close Approach

Today, January 27, 2012 at about 15:25 UT, the asteroid designated 2012 BX34 will pass only 59,044 km (36,750 miles) or about ~0.2 lunar distance (or 0.0004 AU) above the Earth's surface. The asteroid was discovered by Catalina Sky Survey with a 0.68-m Schmidt + CCD on January 25, 2012 at magnitude ~20.

According to its absolute magnitude (H=27.6) this asteroid has an estimated diameter of roughly 8-18 meters, so it is very small. We have been able to follow-up this object few hours ago remotely from the GRAS Observatory (near Mayhill, NM) through a 0.10-m f/5 reflector + CCD. 

At the moment of our images from New Mexico on January 27, 11:04UT, "2012 BX34" was moving at about ~318.86 "/min and its magnitude was ~15. At the moment of its close approach around 15UT of today, 2012 BX34 will be bright as magnitude ~13.8 and moving at ~1810 "/min.

Below you can see a single 120-seconds exposure showing the object as a ~11-arcminutes trail (due to its fast speed). Click on the thumbnail to see a bigger version:

While this is an animation showing the object moving among the field stars. Each image was a 120-second exposure. Click on the thumbnail to see a bigger version:

While there is no cause for concern, this is one of the closest approaches recorded. The table below shows the top 20 closest approaches by NEOs (Near-Earth Objects) sorted by nominal distance. The table has been computed on the NASA/Neo-JPL website (the event that took 2008 TC3 into the earth's atmosphere is not included). Click on the thumbnail to see a bigger version:

by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero & Nick Howes

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Comet Images by Faulkes & Liverpool Telescopes

Below you can find a selection of some of the comets we imaged in the last 2 weeks using the 2-meter telescopes of Faulkes (F65 & E10 MPC codes) and the La Palma-Liverpool (J13 MPC code). Click on each image for a bigger version.

Prompted by an alert of A. Diepvens on comet-images mailing list, on January 03 we perfomed some follow-up of C/2010 G2 (Hill); we confirm that this comet was experiencing a bright phase. Co-adding of 9 unfiltered exposures, 15 seconds each, obtained remotely from the Siding Spring-Faulkes Telescope South on 2012, January 03.46 through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD  reveals the comet as a bright featureless star-like object of magnitude 13.2 N
C/2010 G2 (Hill)  - 2012, January 03

C/2010 G2 (Hill)  - 2011, December 22 - 2012 January 10

C/2009 F4 (McNaught) - 2012, January 03

Comet 29P/Schwassmann–Wachmann - 2012, January 11

Comet 244P/Scotti - 2012, January 11

Comet 49P/Arend-Rigaux - 2012, January 11

Comet P/2011 W2 (RINNER) - 2012, January 11

Comet 164P/Christensen - 2012, January 11

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Giovanni Sostero