Near-Earth asteroid 2015 HQ171 coming close: an image (30 Apr. 2015)
*** See it LIVE event here ! ***
While the way on its fly-by with our planet, the near-Earth asteroid 2015 HQ171 was captured via the Virtual Telescope, despite the critical observing conditions /extremely bright Moon and cirrus all around). We will show it live once closer to its minimum distance of 460.000 of km from the Earth.
The image above is the average of three, 120-seconds exposures, remotely taken with PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope. The robotic mount tracked the fast (40″/minute) apparent motion of the asteroid, so stars are trailing, while the asteroid is perfectly tracked (the asteroid is the little dot in the center, marked with two white lines). At the imaging time, the object was very faint, at about mag. 18.5 and at about 1.2 millions of km from our planet.
Below is the orbit of the asteroid, plotted with TheSkyX (Software Bisque)
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