Near-Earth asteroid 2017 HB1 close encounter: an image (24 Apr. 2017)
The near-Earth asteroid 2017 HB1 was discovered by the Mt. Lemmon Survey in Arizona (USA) on 18 April 2017. Today it had a close, but safe encounter with the Earth (about 1.4 millions of km).
Above is an image coming from a single 120-seconds exposure, unfiltered, taken with the 16″-f/3.75 Tenagra III (“Pearl”) unit. The robotic mount tracked the fast 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 red lines. 2017 HB1 has an estimated diameter in the range of 15-34 meters.
The observatory is placed at 1300 meters above the sea level, in the Sonoran desert, providing one of the best skies in the world. This image was taken as part of a cooperation between the Virtual Telescope Project and Tenagra Observatories, Ltd., which will be announced soon.
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