ASTEROID FLORENCE CLOSE FLY-BY

ASTEROID FLORENCE CLOSE FLY-BY

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On the evening of September 1, 2017, Al Sadeem Astronomy (ASA) Observatory observed the closest flyby of asteroid 3122 Florence. The asteroid was sighted and captured through the observatory’s 16” Meade LX850 Compound Telescope and a typical DSLR camera.

At the time of capture, this relatively huge asteroid (about 4.5km wide) was seen travelling across the night sky in the Aquarius-Delphinus region at a safe distance of about 18 times the Earth-moon distance (around 7 million km away from Earth). It was discovered by American astronomer Schelte J. Bus on March 2, 1981; named after the English nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale.

Illustration of Asteroid 3122 close flyby distance from the Earth-moon system (to scale) Image Credit: NASA/JPL Caltech

Position of 3122 Florence last September 1, 2017 (Courtesy of Stellarium)

Radar Image of Asteroid 3122 Florence and its two moons (Image Credit: NASA/JPL Center for Near-Earth Object Studies)

Below is the video simulation of the asteroid 3122 Florence close flyby from a series of 5-second exposure images.

References

Beatty, K. (2017, September 2). Asteroid Florence Has Two Moons. Retrieved from Sky & Telescope: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/asteroid-florence-has-two-moons/

Greicius, T. (2017, August 18). Large Asteroid to Safely Pass Earth on Sept. 1. Retrieved from NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/large-asteroid-to-safely-pass-earth-on-sept-1

JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 3122 Florence (1981 ET3)”. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=2003122

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