Near-Earth asteroid 2020 HX3 very close encounter: a exceptional image – 24 Apr. 2020

We imaged the near-Earth asteroid 2020 HX3 while it safely was at its minimum distance from us, that is about 250.000 km, 2/3rd the average lunar distance. Once again, our robotic telescope did a superb job.

Near-Earth Asteroid 2020 HX3 - 24 Apr. 2020.

Near-Earth Asteroid 2020 HX3 – 24 Apr. 2020.

The image above comes from a single, 120-seconds exposure, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at Virtual Telescope. The telescope tracked the very 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, marked by an arrow.

The typical, superb tracking capabilities of our telescopes are clearly evident, with the asteroid tracked to perfection by our robotic mount.

At the imaging time, 2020 HX3 was exactly at the minimum distance from our Earth, that is 254.000 km. This asteroid, having a diameter of 11-24 meters, was  discovered by the Pan-STARRS survey on 19 Apr. 2020.

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