Near-Earth asteroid 2020 TF6 extremely close encounter: image and movie – 19 Oct. 2020

The near-Earth asteroid 2020 TF6 had a extremely close, but safe, approach with our planet, reaching a minimum distance from the Earth of about 150000 km, 0.4 times the average distance of the Moon. We tracked it around the fly-by time, capturing a image and a great time-lapse.

Near-Earth asteroid 2020 TF6. 19 Oct. 2020.

Near-Earth asteroid 2020 TF6. 19 Oct. 2020.

The image above comes from a single, 60-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 TF6 was at about 150000 km from the Earth (its minimum distance from us). It was discovered by the Mt. Lemmon survey on 16 Oct. 2020.

We also captured 50 images, back to back, to show 2020 TF6 while it was fast moving across the stars, with the telescope carefully tracking it

Near-Earth asteroid 2020 TF6: time-lapse. 19 Oct. 2020.

Near-Earth asteroid 2020 TF6: time-lapse. 19 Oct. 2020.

This 8.4 – 19 meters large asteroid reached its minimum distance (about 150000 km) from us on 19 Oct. 2020, at 19:24 UTC (source: Nasa/JPL). Of course, there were no risks at all for our planet.

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