Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (276033) 2002 AJ129 close encounter: an image (03 Feb. 2018)

While the Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (276033) 2002 AJ129 approaches us and we are waiting to show it live to the world, we managed to capture an image. We are pleased to show it to you.

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (276033) 2002 AJ129: 4 Feb. 2018

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (276033) 2002 AJ129: 4 Feb. 2018

Above is an image coming from the average of three, 90-seconds exposures, unfiltered, taken with the 16″-f/3.75 Tenagra III (“Pearl”) unit.  The robotic mount tracked the fast (50″/minute) apparent motion of the asteroid, so stars are apparently trailing. The asteroid is perfectly tracked: it is the sharp dot in the center, marked with two red lines.

At the imaging time, asteroid 2002 AJ129 was only 12 degrees above the South-Eastern horizon, so it was quite difficult to capture. In that very moment, it was about 5.9 millions of km from us, safely coming closer. Tomorrow, we will show this 480-1000 meters large asteroid live, online.

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  the cooperation between the Virtual Telescope Project and Tenagra Observatories, Ltd.

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