Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32 close encounter: new image and animation – 19 Mar. 2021

While the potentially hazardous asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32 is safely approaching us, we could capture a new image and time-lapse, despite its extremely low altitude above our horizon. Enjoy our latest view.

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32: 19 Mar. 2021.

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32: 19 Mar. 2021.

The image above comes from a single 300-second exposure, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at Virtual Telescope. 2001 FO32 was incredibly low on the Southern horizon (10.0 deg. !), with the target almost completely “eclipsed” by the observatory walls. But here it is!

At the imaging time, asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32 was at about 8 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.

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: 19 Mar. 2021.

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32 animation: 19 Mar. 2021.

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 (source: JPL). Recent estimates using NEOWISE data suggest a 550 meters diameter. 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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