Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 388945 (2008 TZ3) close encounter: an image (07 May 2018)

Next 9 May 2018, the potentially hazardous asteroid 2008 TZ3, having the official number 388945, will safely “touch” its minimum distance from our planet, six times larger than the average Moon one. We are pleased to share with you an image of this cosmic rock.

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 388945 (2008 TZ3): 7 May 2018

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 388945 (2008 TZ3): 7 May 2018

The image above comes a single, 60-seconds exposure, remotely taken with the 16″-f/3.75 Tenagra III (“Pearl”) robotic unit in Arizona, available as part of the partnership between the Virtual Telescope Project (Italy) and Tenagra Observatories (Arizona, USA).

The telescope tracked the apparent motion of the asteroid, so stars leave short trails, while the asteroid looks like a bright, sharp dot of light in the center of the image. When we imaged it, asteroid 2008 TZ3 was at about 3 millions of km from the Earth and it was on its way approaching us.

This ~350 meters large asteroid will reach its minimum distance (2.5 millions of km) from us on 09 May 2018, at 10:06 UTC. For the next couple of days or so, it will be visible with small (8-10 inches large) telescopes from the Southern hemisphere.

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