Near-Earth asteroid 2020 KJ4 extremely close encounter: a image – 27 May 2020
Late last May, the near-Earth asteroid 2020 KJ4 safely came very close to us, reaching a minimum distance from the Earth of about 142000 km, 1/3rd of the average distance of the Moon. We captured this image, a few hours before the flyby.
The image shown 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 tracked the fast apparent motion of the asteroid, this is why stars show as long trails, while the asteroid looks like a faint, but sharp dot of light in the center of the image, marked by an arrow..
At the imaging time, 2020 KJ4 was at about 300.000 km from the Earth, already closer than our Moon, and it was safely approaching us. It was discovered by the Pan-STARRS survey on 21 May 2020.
This 2.8 – 6.2 meters large asteroid reached its minimum distance (about 142000 km) from us on 28 May 2020, at 13:21 UTC. Of course, there were no risks at all for our planet.
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