Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (4179) Toutatis close approach: updates(12 Dec. 2012)

The Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (4179) Toutatis, imaged at the Virtual Telescope

The Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (4179) Toutatis, imaged at the Virtual Telescope

The potentially hazardous asteroid (4179) Toutatis reached its minimum distance from the Earth on Dec. 12, at 6:40 UT. About ten hours later, while still within 7 millions of km from our planet, the Virtual Telescope team imaged it, getting more than 400 single frames. The telescope was asked to track the asteroid, at that time showing an apparent motion of 21″/min.

The whole image set was used to make the video below: thanks to the huge number of images and the the fast exposures, the motion looks very smooth, making the movie quite spectacular.

All the images were captured remotely using the PlaneWave 17 robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope Project

The Virtual Telescope planned a free, online session to show Toutatis in real time!


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