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A Very Close Asteroid - 2011 MD

Asteroid to Zip Close to Earth Tonight

Melbourne 6/27/2011 06:37 AM GMT (WooEB)

Its not every day, that an asteroid misses Earth by less than 8000km.

Australian amateur astronomer Peter Lake has captured some of the first images of what will be a very close pass of Earth by asteroid 2011 MD. He actually took the image remotely via a 20 inch telescope in New Mexico USA, controlled via his iPhone, through the Global Rent-A-Scope Network.

Photographed here by Peter on Sunday evening 26th, it can be seen streaking across the sky.

Its close approach is being followed with great interest, more for honing the skills and techniques of the Minor Planet Center and the network of asteroid hunting Astronomers, rather than because it posses any real danger.

The asteroid, which was only detected last week, is about 25 to 55 feet (8 to 18 m) across, is expected to pass less than 8,000 miles above Earth’s surface around 1 p.m. EDT (17:00 UT) on Monday, June 27th. The time of closest approach will be observable from South Africa and parts of Antarctica, but the approach will be visible across Australia, New Zealand, southern and eastern Asia, and the western Pacific.

It will pass inside the orbit of many of the Geostationary satellites, hopefully with out hitting any of them.

In 2008 an asteroid of similar size, 2008 TC3 slammed into Sudan lighting up the night sky. A team of researchers subsequently recovered over 10 Kilograms of fragments, which further research has found contained some amino acids.

See a video of  2011 MD



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