Near-Earth asteroid 2021 DW1 very close encounter: an image – 03 Mar. 2021
Minutes ago, the near-Earth asteroid 2021 DW1 had a very close, but safe, approach with our planet, reaching a minimum distance from the Earth of about 570000 km, 1.5X the average distance of the Moon. We captured it a few hours before the fly-by.
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 DW1 was at about 610000 km from the Earth and approaching us. It was discovered by the PanSTARRS Survey on 16 Feb. 2021.
This 24 – 55 meters large asteroid reached its minimum distance (about 570000 km, 1.5 times the average lunar distance) from us on 04 Mar. 2021, at 08:59 UTC (source: Nasa/JPL). Of course, there were no risks at all for our planet.
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Why is the Live Stream of (231937) 2001 FO32 NOT at 4:03 PM when it is at the closest approach to Earth?? WHY 12 hours LATER? You don’t us to see it COMING, “just in case”??
Thanks for asking! Well, for a number of reason, like:
1) at the fly-by time, in Italy we are in broad daylight;
2) it rises above the Italian horizon at the end of the night, after spending most of its time in the Southern sky.
Hope this helps