Near-Earth asteroid 2003 DZ15 getting closer: 23 July 2013
The 160 meters large near-Earth asteroid 2003 DZ15 continues to approach us, waiting to touch the minimum distance of 3.5 millions of km next 30 July. Of course, it is a very safe close encounter, giving us another opportunity to spy a minor planet of this kind while apparently surfing the stars very fast. At the imaging time, 2003 DZ15 was at about 8.3 millions of km from us.
The Virtual Telescope tried again to image it, after a previous, successful attempt: the Moon was full, at about 30 degrees from the asteroid position, so being a serious issue. Nevertheless, the PlaneWave 17″ robotic unit was remotely slewed to 2003 DZ15 and the robotic Paramount ME mount was asked to track its fast, apparent motion.
The asteroid finally was spotted against a very bright background and several images were saved. Above is the average of four of them, each integrated for 120 seconds: stars are trailed because the telescope was following the asteroidal motion.
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