Once again, an asteroid is set to make a high-speed, “close” flyby of the Earth, coming within a minimum distance of 487,000 km, which is slightly more than the average orbit of the moon.
Asteroid 2019 UM12, measuring up to 69 meters (230ft) in diameter and traveling at speeds of over 30,700 mph, will come closest to us at 17:41 UTC on November 7. Only discovered by NASA on October 24, the space rock has never passed through this neck of the cosmic woods before and likely won’t ever again.
Thankfully, folks operating powerful telescopes didn’t need that much of a heads-up to capture 2019 UM12 in all its glory.
#Asteroid #2019UM12 is safely coming as close as 487.000 km later today. We spotted it last night, here it is!@PopSci @AsteroidDay @b612foundation @SkyandTelescope @NEOShieldTeam @universetoday https://t.co/EwsDTc3Wee pic.twitter.com/JE1BB2LnED
— Virtual Telescope (@VirtualTelescop) November 8, 2019
This image shows the asteroid en route to our backyard. The motion-tracking technology used to get a decent photo of the asteroid resulted in the stars in the background extending out into long trails while the asteroid appears as singular, bright dot at a distance of roughly 1.15 million kilometers from the Earth.
The asteroid measures some 3.7 times bigger than the space rock which buzzed the Earth at half the lunar distance on November 4.
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