Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32 close encounter: post fly-by image – 22 Mar. 2021
We captured potentially hazardous asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32 a few hours after its fly-by and shared it live with the community. Observing conditions were extreme, but we succeed and here it is our image.
The image above comes from a single 120-second exposure, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at Virtual Telescope. Imaging conditions were extreme: 2001 FO32 was incredibly low on the Eastern horizon (11.0 deg. !), with the target almost completely “eclipsed” by the observatory walls, while the sky was brighter and brighter because of the morning twilight. But we were lucky and we could capture the asteroid in two images: here we share the best one!
At the imaging time, asteroid (231937) 2001 FO32 was at about 2.5 millions of km from the Earth and it was quickly leaving us. It was discovered by the LINEAR on 23 Mar. 2001, exactly 20 years ago.
This 550-meters (latest estimates with NEOWISE data) large asteroid reached its minimum distance (about 2 millions of km) from us on 21 Mar. 2021, at 16:03 UTC (source: JPL). Of course, there were no risks at all for our planet.
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