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.
* 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.
Support The Virtual Telescope Project!
If everyone reading this right now would donate something, our fundraiser would be done in a few days. Please, donate and receive stunning, LIMITED EDITION panel showing the evolution of comet 46P/Wirtanen over the last weeks and more amazing images, specifically made for supporters like you!
donate now (you can adjust the amount later)
You can also order our 2019 Calendar, featuring our unique images of the stars above the legendary monuments of Rome!