Near-Earth asteroid 2020 RZ6 very close encounter: a image – 17 Sept. 2020
Minutes ago, the near-Earth asteroid 2020 RZ6 had a very close, but safe, approach with our planet, reaching a minimum distance from the Earth of about 340000 km, 0.88 times the average distance of the Moon. We imaged it when it was at its closest.
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 fast apparent motion of the asteroid, this is why stars show as long trails, while the asteroid looks like a bright and sharp dot of light in the center of the image, marked by an arrow.
At the imaging time, asteroid 2020 RZ6 was at about 340000 km from the Earth, exactly at the fly-by distance. Clouds made the observations quite difficult, but we succeeded. It was discovered by the ATLAS survey on 15 Sept. 2020.
This 12-27 meters large asteroid reached its minimum distance (about 340000 km) from us on 17 Sept. 2020, at 18:23 UTC (source: Nasa/JPL). Of course, there were no risks at all for our planet.
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