Near-Earth Asteroid 2019 UB8 very close encounter: an exceptional image (29 Oct. 2019)
Our live feed covering the very close encounter, last night, of the near-Earth asteroid 2019 UB8 with our planet was super. While the sky was not ideal because of the clouds, we had a beautiful sight for about 20 minutes, where the exceptional capabilities of our telescope to track these extreme targets simply made the difference.
The image above comes from a single, 300-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 (350″/minute) 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, marked with a white arrow.
One of the star trails, the one on the right of the asteroid, is completely inside the field of view, so you can easily guess how fast this rock was surfing the skies.
At the imaging time, asteroid 2019 UB8 was at about 269.000 km from the Earth, 66% of the average lunar distance.
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