Near-Earth asteroid 2020 JA very close encounter: an image – 2 May 2020

Later today, 3 May 2020, the near-Earth asteroid 2020 JA will have a very close, but safe encounter with our planet, coming as close as about 240.000 km, much closer than our Moon. Our robotic telescope tracked this object, capturing this spectacular image.

Near-Earth Asteroid 2020 JA - 2 May 2020.

Near-Earth Asteroid 2020 JA – 2 May 2020.

The image above comes from a single, 300-seconds exposure, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at Virtual Telescope. The telescope carefully tracked the fast apparent motion of the asteroid, so stars result in long trails, while the asteroid looks like a sharp dot of light in the center of the image, marked by an arrow. A satellite trail is also visibile.

At the imaging time, asteroid 2020 JA was at about 1.5 millions of km from the Earth and it was on its way approaching us. It was  discovered by the Pan-STARRS survey on 1 May 2020.

This 9.7-22 meters large asteroid will reach its minimum distance (about 240.000 km, 62% of the average lunar distance) from us on 3 May 2020, at 19:59 UTC. Of course, there are no risks at all for our planet.

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