Near-Earth asteroid 2021 CO very close encounter: an image – 11 Feb. 2021

On 11 Feb. 2021, the near-Earth asteroid 2021 CO had a very close, but safe, approach with our planet, reaching a minimum distance from the Earth of about 360000 km, less than the average distance of the Moon. We captured it after the fly-by.

Near-Earth asteroid 2021 CO. 12 Feb. 2021.

Near-Earth asteroid 2021 CO. 12 Feb. 2021.

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 2021 CO was at about 370000 km from the Earth and leaving us. It was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey on 5 Feb. 2021.

This 23 – 52 meters large asteroid reached its minimum distance (about 370000 km, 94% of the average lunar distance) from us on 11 Feb. 2021, at 15:22 UTC (source: Nasa/JPL). Of course, there were no risks at all for our planet.

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