Asteroid close encounter tomorrow night!

Don't forget that a 1,300 foot asteroid, about the size of an aircraft carrier, will fly by Earth tomorrow even closer to us than the moon. Don't worry, it won't hit. It'll be tricky to catch a glimpse, but you might spot it if you have a telescope with at least a 6-inch mirror, says Scott Fisher, the director of the National Science Foundation's Division of Astronomical Sciences. From


"It turns out that YU55 is going to be pretty faint when it flies by," he explained. "To make it even more difficult to observe … it will be moving VERY quickly across the sky as it passes."

"The best time to observe it would be in the early evening on November 8th from the east coast of the US," Fisher said. "However! It is going to be VERY faint, even at its closest approach. You will need a decent sized telescope to be able to actually see the object as it flies by."

The event marks the first time since 1976 that an object as large as asteroid 2005 YU55 has passed this close to Earth, Fisher said. The next time an asteroid of similar size will approach close to Earth will be in 2028.

"How to Spot the Huge Asteroid 2005 YU55's Close Encounter With Earth"


    1. They would, and I have evidence to suggest they’ve given similar warnings before past disasters.  Perhaps the most compelling case being the -*crushed by asteroid*

  1. (dammit) ‘they’ should arrange to orbitally capture these proximal trespassers (a) for practice, (b) to use as base for all sorts of cool scientifical investigations and, (c) for its solid diamondium chewy nougat center.  and like, what’s the worst that could possibly happen?

  2. …a 1,300 foot asteroid, about the size of an aircraft carrier…

    Are we absolutely sure it’s NOT an aircraft carrier? Maybe the USS Nimitz got sucked into another one of those spacetime vortex thingies.

  3. That one in 2028 though isn’t coming as close as originally thought:  It’s now projected to be 2.4 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.   Asteroid (35396) 1997 XF11

    Of course, the impressive one is Apophis in 2029, which is going to come closer than geosynchronous satellites orbit.   Within spittin’ distance, and supposedly will be visible to the naked eye.

  4. I guess this means that I won’t be able to see the asteroid with my Astroscan?  Usually we have too much low fog to see anything in the sky, but last night was so super clear.   I may have to just sit outside with the Astroscan and pretend that I can actually see YU55. 

    1. It’s going to be cloudy here, but I will  sit inside with my Astroscan and pretend, also.

  5. I’ve been trying to get the elements for this particular asteroid, with some amusing results. The first set put the asteroid on the opposite side of the Sun in a Hohmann like orbit between Earth and Mars (Rama anybody?). The next… well, cue Aerosmith. Probably my own software. Since I’ve had some problems doing so, I decided to see if anyone else managed to put up a nice track. While I’m still looking to see where I went wrong, here’s a nice plot setup by a fellow up in Duluth…
    Keep in mind that the asteroid is going to be close, so be sure to count on parallax. 
    If you actually plan on trying to find it.
    And good luck at that…

  6. Srsly, Give me a like if you agree that the US should take the lead in planetary asteroid defense.

    I wrote letters to both McCain and Obama about this in 2008 and at least got a form letter back form Obama

    We need to watch those asteroids and build a couple of plasma or ion powered interceptors in low Earth orbit.  And we need to start now!

    1. Given the nature of the problem, I want anybody to have the lead, not just the US alone. This needs to be taken a bit more seriously. Remember, mass extinction is for everybody. 
      (Liking you for bringing it up!)

    2.  And of course, the US can be trusted not to turn those sorts of things around 180 degrees? (or anyone, or any group for that matter).

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