Near-Earth asteroid 2013 XH22: an amazing image (17 Dec. 2013)
The near-Earth asteroid 2013 XH22 was shared live while it was approaching our planet, last night. Images collected by the Virtual Telescope were visible on the web, in real-time.
Above is a very spectacular image, made with frames collected during the live feed and showing this small, 20-meters asteroid surfing the skies while it was at about 1.25 millions of km from us and approaching.
It is the average of three, 180-seconds exposures, taken with the PlaneWave 17″ robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope. The robotic system was tracking the fast apparent motion of the minor planet (about 115″/minute), at the imaging time located at 850.000 km from the Earth. The Paramount ME robotic mount used its specific capabilities for tracking fast moving objects. So, asteroid 2013 XH22 appears as a sharp dot of light, while stars are “slipping” on the background.
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