Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Close Approach of Asteroid 2012 TC4

M.P.E.C. 2012-T18, issued on 2012 Oct. 7, reports the discovery of the asteroid 2012 TC4 (discovery magnitude 20.1) by F51 Pan-STARRS 1, Haleakala on images taken on October 04.4 with a 1.8-m Ritchey-Chretien + CCD.

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.

UPDATE - October 16, 2012

Below you can see our image (single 180-second exposure) of 2012 TC4 obtained on October 11 at 21UT, few hours before its close approach. At the moment of the image, the asteroid was of magnitude ~14.4 and moving at ~185"/min. Click on the image for a bigger version.

by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero, Nick Howes


Anonymous said...

Around what time will be best to see this asteroid via telescope in North West New Jersey?

Team said...

Unfortunately now it's too late to observe it. In fact, after the close approach at 0531UT of today, the asteroid is rapidly decreased in brightness and now it is very faint.


Sufian said...

Was it possible to see this asteroid at 5:00am in Australia GMT +10? (2 hours ago).

I caught something shooting across the horizon vertically, here in Australia on camera. I am just trying to figure out if it could have been this asteroid.

Anonymous said...

So, when will this asteroid (or any other of those identified) return? Or, where is any data re: return/frequency/round trip of these NEOs, assuming that they have orbits?