Asteroid 2004 BL86

Asteroid 2004 BL86

Postby steve-fung » Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:37 pm

I guess this would fall under "minor planet" category... Asteroid 2004 BL86, which is a 0.4-1.0 km wide asteroid, will fly by Earth this Monday 26 January 2015 by about 1.2x10^6 km (3.1 lunar distance). It will be the closest known asteroid this size to pass Earth until 2027, which at that time will be asteroid 1999 AN10. Reports show that the asteroid should be observable using binoculars under dark skies. Clear Sky Chart is forecasting clear skies for this weekend. Is anyone tracking this (or even possibly take a picture of its flyby)? Peak apparent magnitude 9. Virtual Telescope is showing a live observing session on Monday 26 January 2015, 20:30 UT.

http://www.virtualtelescope.eu/2014/12/06/potentially-hazardous-asteroid-357439-2004-bl86-close-encounter-online-event-26-jan-2015/

Ephemeris for the asteroid can be found at

http://theskylive.com/2004bl86-info
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Re: Asteroid 2004 BL86

Postby steve-fung » Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:30 pm

For those who wish to observe the asteroid tonight, it will pass through M44 Beehive Cluster between 11:00-11:30pm (CST). At that time, M44 should be East, about 10 degrees up and slightly south of Jupiter.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/press-releases/asteroid-2004-bl86/

Times shown are EST. This will be the first time for me to try to observe an asteroid, but I'm hoping to use my GoTo GEM and track M44 with a widefield telescope and 200 mm camera lens around this time. The asteroid should appear as a moving point-like object from South to North along the inferior aspect of M44. Hopefully, the asteroid will still be observable around magnitude 9-10, but it really sucks to be in Houston with all the light pollution.
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Re: Asteroid 2004 BL86

Postby steve-fung » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:29 am

Unfortunately, it was cloudy in Houston, so not much seeing. However, some fine folks in other parts of the country were able to post some great flyby pictures of asteroid 2004 BL86 passing through M44.

http://www.astrobin.com/151744/
http://www.astrobin.com/151801/
http://www.astrobin.com/151803/

Also Drako sent this news - "Scientists working with NASA's 230-foot-wide (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, have released the first radar images of asteroid 2004 BL86. The images show the asteroid, which made its closest approach on Jan. 26, 2015 at 8:19 a.m. PST (11:19 a.m. EST) at a distance of about 745,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers, or 3.1 times the distance from Earth to the moon), has its own small moon."

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4459

Amazing stuff!
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