Near-Earth Asteroid 2020 RJ close encounter: an image – 8 Sept. 2020
Last night, 8 Sept. 2020, the near-Earth asteroid 2020 RJ had a close, but safe encounter with our planet. It came as close as 1.2 millions of km, so about 3.3 times the average lunar distance. We captured it around the flyby and are pleased to share this image.
The image above comes from a single 240-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. It is marked by an arrow. It was shining at magnitude 16.7.
At the imaging time, asteroid 2020 RJ was at about 1.26 millions of km from the Earth. It was discovered by the Mt. Lemmon Survey on 5 Sept. 2020.
This 19-42 meters large asteroid reached its minimum distance (about 1.2 millions of km) from us on 8 Sept. 2020 at 22:45 UTC (source: Nasa/JPL). Of course, there were no risks at all for our planet.
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