Near-Earth asteroid 2021 YK very close encounter: an image – 01 Jan. 2022

Yesterday, the near-Earth asteroid 2021 YK had a very close, but safe, approach with our planet, reaching a minimum distance from the center of the Earth of about 188.000 km, 49% of the average distance of the Moon. We imaged it while it was approaching us.

Near-Earth asteroid 2021 YK . 01 Jan. 2022.

Near-Earth asteroid 2021 YK . 01 Jan. 2022.

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. The telescope tracked the fast apparent motion of the asteroid, this is why stars show as long trails, while the asteroid looks like a sharp dot of light in the center of the image, marked by an arrow.

At the imaging time, asteroid 2021 YK was at about 570.000 km from us and approaching. It was discovered by the Mt. Lemmon Survey on 27 Dec. 2021.

This 8.7-19 meters large asteroid reached its minimum distance (about 188.000 km, 49% of the average lunar distance) from us on 2 Jan. 2022, at 16:03 UTC (source: Nasa/JPL). Of course, there were no risks at all for our planet.

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