Near-Earth Asteroid 2016 LB close encounter: an image (01 June 2016)
On 1 June 2016, while the sky was clear for a couple of hours, we managed to do some follow-up of a probable near-Earth asteroid, at that time listed on the Minor Planet Center’s NEO Confirmation Page. Later, its NEO nature was confirmed and the object received the provisional designation 2016 LB. Its diameter is around 120 meters. On 3 June at 09:07 UT it touched the minimum distance of 2.1 millions of km from the Earth (more than 5 times the distance of the Moon).
The image above is a single 120-seconds exposure, remotely taken with PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope. The robotic mount tracked the fast (46″/minute) apparent motion of the asteroid, so stars are trailing, while the asteroid is perfectly tracked (the minor planet is the sharp dot in the center). At the imaging time, the object was at about mag. 17.0 and at about 3 millions km from our planet.
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