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2017BH30T_29jan2017_pw17-640x518

Asteroid 2017 BH30 Made An Extremely Close Near-Earth Pass Just A Day After it Was Discovered

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The near-Earth asteroid 2017 BH30 was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona (USA) on 29 January 2017 and announced later the same day by the Minor Planet Center: it was going to have a very close encounter with the Earth, at 0.18 lunar distances (about 70.000 km).

At Virtual Telescope Project we captured 2017 BH30 while it was safely approaching us. Above is an image coming from the average of two 60-seconds exposures, remotely taken with “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E robotic unit) available at Virtual Telescope. The robotic mount tracked the fast (36″/minute) apparent motion of the asteroid, so stars are trailing. The asteroid is perfectly tracked: it is the sharp dot in the center, marked with two white segments.

To get these impressive results, the Paramount ME robotic mount tracked using the ephemerides retrieved via the JPL’s Horizon webserver. At the imaging time, asteroid 2017 BH30 was at about 500.000 km from us and safely approaching. Its diameter should be around 5-10 meters or so.

The observations provided by the Virtual Telescope Project were published by the Minor Planet Center on its electronic circular MPEC 2017-B121.

Asteroid 2017 BH30 safely reached its minimum distance of about 70.000 km from us on 30 Jan. 2017 at 04:51 UT.

Over the years, our capability to detect small asteroids improved quite a lot, hence the apparently higher numbers of close approaches we see these days.

Gianluca Masi
Virtual Telescope


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