Near-Earth Asteroid 2018 WV1 extremely close encounter: a slice of Moon? (1 Dec. 2018)

Discovered on 29 Nov. 2018, the near-Earth asteroid 2018 WV1 will have an extremely close, but safe, encounter with the Earth on 2 Dec. 2018, at 03:12 UTC, when it will be at about 33000 km from us, closer than the geostationary satellites. Quite interestingly, it could be a souvenir from the Moon! The Virtual Telescope captured this extreme image, showing once again its superb technological capabilities.

Near-Earth Asteroid 2018 WV1: 1 Dec. 2018

Near-Earth Asteroid 2018 WV1: 1 Dec. 2018

* NB: versione in Italiano qui *

The image above comes from a single, 120-seconds exposure, remotely taken with “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at Virtual Telescope. The telescope tracked the fast apparent motion of the asteroid, this is why stars show as long trails, while the asteroid looks like a sharp dot of light in the center of the image.

At the imaging time, asteroid 2018 WV1 was at about 86.000 km from the Earth, 1/4 of the average lunar distance.

The size of this object is estimated to be in the 2.5-5.6 meters;its speed relative to Earth at the minimum distance is about 5 km/s, while its orbit is similar to the one of our planet: these facts suggest this asteroid could be a piece of the Moon, coming from the its surface after an asteroid impacted on our satellite.

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