Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32 close encounter: image and animation – 15 Mar. 2021

The potentially hazardous asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32 is safely approaching us and, while waiting for its fly-by next 21 Mar., we captured it last night.

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32: 11 Mar. 2021.

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32: 15 Mar. 2021.

The image above comes from a single 180-second exposure, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at Virtual Telescope. 2001 FO32 was extremely low on the Southern horizon (13.5 deg.), so the observing conditions were far from being ideal: despite this, the asteroid is well visible.

We also did this simple animation, where (231937) 2001 FO32 is seen in motion against the stars on the background:

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32 animation: 15 Mar. 2021.

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32 animation: 15 Mar. 2021.

At the imaging time, asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32 was at about 19.5 millions of km from the Earth and it was quickly approaching us. It was discovered by the LINEAR on 23 Mar. 2001, exactly 20 years ago.

This 770 -1700 meters large asteroid will reach its minimum distance (about 2 millions of km) from us on 21 Mar. 2021, at 16:03 UTC. Of course, there are no risks at all for our planet.

We will be showing 2001 FO32 live: join us online, from the comfort of your home!

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