Near-Earth asteroid 2020 VP1 extremely close encounter: a image – 10 Nov. 2020
A couple of hours ago, the near-Earth asteroid 2020 VP1 had a extremely close, but safe, approach with our planet, reaching a minimum distance from the Earth of about 184000 km, 0.48 times the average distance of the Moon. We imaged it last night, contributing to compute its orbit.
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 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 VP1 was at about 830000 km from the Earth and approaching us.It was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey on 10 Nov. 2020. As you can see from the MPEC 2020-V67 Circular, our observations (470 Ceccano) done while the asteroid was waiting for confirmation contributed to the the computation of its orbit.
This 7.9 – 18 meters large asteroid reached its minimum distance (about 184000 km) from us on 11 Nov. 2020, at 06:59 UTC (source: Nasa/JPL). Of course, there were no risks at all for our planet.
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