NASA captures new images of large asteroid passing Earth

Nov 08, 2011
This radar image of asteroid 2005 YU55 was obtained on Nov. 7, 2011, at 11:45 a.m. PST (2:45 p.m. EST/1945 UTC), when the space rock was at 3.6 lunar distances, which is about 860,000 miles, or 1.38 million kilometers, from Earth. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, Calif. has captured new radar images of Asteroid 2005 YU55 passing close to Earth.

The asteroid safely will fly past our planet slightly closer than the moon's on Nov. 8. The last time a this large came as close to Earth was in 1976, although astronomers did not know about the flyby at the time. The next known approach of an asteroid this size will be in 2028.

The image was taken on Nov. 7 at 11:45 a.m. PST, when the asteroid was approximately 860,000 miles (1.38 million kilometers) away from Earth. Tracking of the aircraft carrier-sized asteroid began at Goldstone at 9:30 a.m. PDT on Nov. 4 with the 230-foot-wide (70-meter) antenna and lasted about two hours, with an additional four hours of tracking planned each day from Nov. 6 - 10.

from the Arecibo Planetary Radar Facility in Puerto Rico will begin Nov. 8, the same day the asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at 3:28 p.m. PST.

The trajectory of asteroid 2005 YU55 is well understood. At the point of closest approach, it will be no closer than 201,700 miles (324,600 kilometers) as measured from the center of Earth, or about 0.85 times the distance from the moon to Earth. The of the asteroid will have no detectable effect on Earth, including tides and . Although the asteroid is in an orbit that regularly brings it to the vicinity of Earth, Venus and Mars, the 2011 encounter with Earth is the closest it has come for at least the last 200 years.

NASA detects, tracks and characterizes asteroids and comets passing close to Earth using both ground- and space-based telescopes. The Near-Earth Object Observations Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., commonly called "Spaceguard," discovers these objects, characterizes some of them, and plots their orbits to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our planet. JPL manages the Near-Earth Object Program Office for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

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User comments : 14

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Isaacsname
5 / 5 (4) Nov 08, 2011
It's gotten bigger by at least 100 pixels....RUN FOR YOUR LIFE !!!!
yyz
not rated yet Nov 08, 2011
Oh yeah, that looks "nearly spherical" to me. /sarc/
AceLepage
5 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2011
If this is a radar image, then should it not "illuminate" the entire object? This looks like a visual image, with the light source located nearly perpendicular to the camera.
GreyLensman
not rated yet Nov 08, 2011
If this is a radar image, then should it not "illuminate" the entire object? This looks like a visual image, with the light source located nearly perpendicular to the camera.


I wish I'd thought of that ;-)
dschlink
not rated yet Nov 08, 2011
Very good point. Maybe the radar reflection is impacted by the temperature of the rock?

What's really odd is there are much better pictures from several days ago.
MrMango
not rated yet Nov 08, 2011
I cant believe the amount of people running around saying this is going to kill us. Folks, this rock will come to pass. The only thing you can be hopeful for is the chance to see it as it passes by. I wish I had a telescope of apreciable size to see this object.
OdinsAcolyte
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2011
Chicken Little Soup is delicious
omatumr
1.4 / 5 (7) Nov 08, 2011
The trajectory of asteroid 2005 YU55 is well understood.

The asteroid safely will fly past our planet slightly closer than the moon's orbit on Nov. 8.


Thanks for the words of assurance.

Where is NASA's calender of future close encounters?

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel

flashgordon
1 / 5 (1) Nov 08, 2011
harbinger of things to come from Spectr R Russian space telescope!
yyz
not rated yet Nov 08, 2011
The Spectr R orbiting radio telescope is only one part of an international radio interferometry network and as such is unable to track such a fast moving target.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2011
So why dont we have good optical images of this?
omatumr
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 08, 2011
Is this related to FEMA's Emergency Alert System Test: November 9, 2011 2:00 PM?

www.youtube.com/w...embedded
omatumr
2.8 / 5 (4) Nov 08, 2011
Why has no update been posted on this event?
Au-Pu
1 / 5 (1) Nov 08, 2011
Interesting to watch them pass by.
BUT what has been done to develop a system to get rid of those that are large enough to present a grave danger if they impacted this planet?