Near-Earth Asteroid 2016 RB1 exceptionally close encounter: an image and movie (06 Sept. 2016)

The near-Earth Asteroid 2016 RB1 while it safely approaches our planet - 07 Sept. 2016

The near-Earth Asteroid 2016 RB1 while it safely approaches our planet – 07 Sept. 2016

On 07 Sept. 2016, at 17:12 UT, the 10 meters large near-Earth asteroid 2016 RB1  will make an exceptionally close encounter with our home planet. At the flyby time, the asteroid will be at about 40.000 km from the Earth surface! That is 0.10 the average lunar distance, still a safe one. This interesting asteroid was discovered on 5 Sept. by  the Mount Lemmon Survey, in Arizona (USA).

At Virtual Telescope we managed to track it the day before, when it was discovered.

The image above is a 60-seconds exposure, remotely taken with PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E robotic unit available at Virtual Telescope. The robotic mount tracked the fast (15″/minute) apparent motion of the asteroid, so stars are trailing. The asteroid is perfectly tracked: it is the sharp dot in the center, marked with two white segments.

At the flyby time, the asteroid will be visible from the southern hemisphere only.

Below is an animation, showing the motion of asteroid 2016 RB1

The observations we made were used by the Minor Planet Center to calculate the orbit of this object, see MPEC 2016-R71 and MPEC 2016-R73.

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