Near-Earth asteroid 2022 AC4 extremely encounter: an image – 10 Jan. 2022

A few hours ago, the near-Earth asteroid 2022 AC4 had a extremely close, but safe, approach with our planet, reaching a minimum distance from the center of the Earth of about 92.000 km, 24% of the average distance of the Moon. We imaged it while it was approaching us.

Near-Earth asteroid 2022 AC4. 10 Jan. 2022.

Near-Earth asteroid 2022 AC4. 10 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. The sky was essentially cloudy, but we could capture this small rock.

At the imaging time, asteroid 2022 AC4 was at about 350.000 km from us (closer than the Moon) and approaching. It was discovered by the Mt. Lemmon Survey on 9 Jan. 2022.

This 4.3 -9.5 meters large asteroid reached its minimum distance (about 92.000 km, 24% of the average lunar distance) from us on 11 Jan. 2022, at 05:19 UTC (source: Nasa/JPL). Of course, there were no risks at all for our planet.

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