Fri, 15 Jun 2012
Near-Earth Object passes Earth
Asteroid 2012 LZ1 passing through Aquila on 16 June (short trail at centre) in a 1-minute exposure through an 80 mm refractor with a Lodestar CCD. The slight curve on the trail is due to small drive errors.
A large and potentially hazardous asteroid, discovered by Rob McNaught, a former Meteor Section director of the Society, passed close to Earth on 14 June. The object is between 300 and 700 metres across, and came 5.5 milllion kilometres of Earth – that's about 14 times farther away than the Moon. There is no darnger of any effect on Earth on this occasion, though encounters in the distant future may be closer. The body orbits the Sun every four years, but no close approaches are possible until at least 2072.
The object was too far south to be observed from the UK at its closest approach, though from 15 June onwards it will be visible or could be imaged through large amateur telescopes, when it will be in the morning sky, passing through Aquila, Sagitta, Vulpecula and Cygnus. Positions may be obtained by going to http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi#top and searching for the object name, which is 2012 LZ1.
Added by: Robin Scagell