Asteroid flyby tonight

Asteroid

Newly discovered asteroid 2007 HA is flying past Earth today about 2.5 million kilometers away.

It’s big (300 meters wide), bright (13th magnitude), and an easy target for large
backyard telescopes
. Last night, Greg Selleck of Madison, Wisconsin, made this 75-minute movie (1.8 MB mpeg) of the space rock racing 47,000 mph through the constellation Virgo. Tonight the asteroid streaks across the Big Dipper.

If skies clear enough we might be able to see it. But there are lots more this month.

Today there were 858 known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids

Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

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2 Responses to Asteroid flyby tonight

  1. Jack says:

    I wonder why most asteroids are traveling at high speed like this one (43,000 mph)?

    Given all the extraterrestrial rocks flying around and impacting earth, it’s seems unusual we’ve yet to discover a new element…which tends to make me think the chunks of rock out there must has come from a single source (big bang).

    Any ideas or thoughts on this?

    *** Reply: Only one: “Splode happens”

  2. Jeff Wood says:

    I wouldn’t know about the Big Bang, Jack, but I am intrigued by this object.

    At 300m, it’s a bit small to be a gravity-held agglomeration, if there is such a word. This thing has been knocked off something bigger.

    Also, check out the cratering. From the depth of some holes, one is surprised the asteroid wasn’t shattered by the impact. Could the thing be soft and yielding?

    You raise a fair point: why is it going so fast?

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