Skip to comments.Asteroid Near Earth Discovered by Amateur Astronomers
Posted on 10/16/2011 2:43:18 AM PDT by Las Vegas Dave
A team of amateur astronomers has discovered a previously unknown asteroid in orbit that brings it near the Earth, highlighting the contributions regular folks can make to planetary defense, scientists announced Wednesday (Oct. 12).
The skywatchers spotted the asteroid, which is known as 2011 SF108, in September using a telescope in the Canary Islands. While 2011 SF108's orbit appears to bring it no closer to Earth than about 18 million miles (30 million kilometers), it still qualifies as a near-Earth object the class of space rocks that could pose a danger to our planet.
The team took advantage of an observation slot sponsored by the European Space Agency's Space Situational Awareness (SSA) program to make the find, according to an ESA announcement.
Observations coordinated by ESA's Space Situational Awareness programme have led to the discovery of a previously unknown near-Earth object, asteroid 2011 SF108 in September 2011. The asteroid orbits the sun in a path that brings it within about 18 million miles (30 million km) of Earth.
CREDIT: ESA/TOTAS Survey Team
Of possible interest to the uap/ufo ping list.
If they had named it Wolf-Biederman, I would be worried!
If it will threaten Earth, they should name it “Obama”.
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Such a body will be undetectable as it is coming directly towards us and when it closes enough to present a discernible image to our telescopes,it will be too late to do anything about it.
Like in war—the bullet with your name on it you never see coming.
Think of Kevin in Home Alone.
sounds like “Son of Global Warming “ scam to me......
Now that this pup has been detected, it will be carefully tracked for the foreseeable future. We should have several decades of warning before it ever becomes a threat. 18 Million miles is a long way from Earth and the effects of earth on its orbit will be quite minor. 99942 Apophis will pass within 5.6 earth radii in 2029, about 22,000 miles or 800 times closer than 18,000,000. Since there is nothing massive that passes anything like that close to this asteroid, its orbit should be quite easy to predict for centuries into the future.
While 2011 SF108's orbit appears to bring it no closer to Earth than about 18 million miles (30 million kilometers), it still qualifies as a near-Earth object
Well, keeping in mind that "NEAR" is a relative term!
Yeah, I dunno. The NASA NEO program and its affliates, including the minor planet center in Cambridge (MA) seem to be distinctly anti-alarmist. They go out of their way to tamp down any alarmist media reports.
It appears to be a pretty low budget, modest operation. I think one of the reasons they are slow to produce predictions (sometimes data reduction and predictions can take days after the announcement of a discovery) is because their limited computer resources.
They are completely transparent with their data and methods. They are the polar opposite of Climate Research Centre and their affliates. There is no secret sauce, no hidden data, no hostility to outside verification. This is very model of good applied science.
Oh yeah, that’s what it looks like to me.
In another astronomical development, a galaxy has been named for Obama:
Forgive me if I misconstrued your response, which struck me as snarkily dismissive. A comet (or small planet) is not distinguished from the background of stars so much by its appearance as by its apparent displacement with time. Schumacher-Levy 9 was discovered by Carolyn Schumacher by comparing photographs of the same patch of the sky taken at different times using an instrument called a "blink comparator". It allows the human eye/brain to compare two well aligned images of the same patch of sky taken at different times and notice if anything appears to move compared to the background of fixed stars. (Computers can do the same thing with digitized images even more effectively.)
If something appears to move in a consistent manner, it's not a star nor is it noise. When Galle discovered Neptune, using Le Verrier's calculations and an updated star chart, he could tell it was a planet because it did not appear as point, but as a small circle. During the night, while observing it, he noticed it appeared to move against the background stars due to the parallax effect induced by the earth's orbital motion, confirming that it was much closer than distant stars.
Smaller objects may not be resolvable as anything more than points. The blink-comparator was how Pluto was discovered, by its motion against the background stars.
Obligatory Pink Floyd asteroid doomsday simulation:
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