Saturday, September 8, 2012

2012 QG42 - Coming past a planet near you!

This shouldn't be unusual, but it is a little bit!

Whilst it is not unusual for a sizeable asteroid to wander past outside the lunar orbit, it is very unusual for something that big to wander past only 17 days after it was discovered!!!

Yes, on the evening of 26/27 August the Catalina Sky Survey picked up 2012 QG42, and follow up confirmation observations confirmed a close approach of just over 7 Lunar distances on Sept 14th. Whilst we like to think that over 95% of objects this size have been found, as someone asked me recently "that's 95% of how many?". "How do you know how many are out there to find 95% of?". Thats largely a statiscal projection based on the size distribution and frequency of discovery.

Asteroids can be easily missed if the are in a busy field of background starts, zip through during the full moon when the survey, or artifacts in the photos mask their position.

Well, 2012 QG42 was picked up this time, and it currently the subject of study by the Arecibo and Goldstone Radar observatories.

After a really busy week at work I was sitting outside the Thai takeaway dinner restaurant and logged on to find the weather had finally broken and logged onto iT11 with my iPhone and grabbed the One line element from the MPC and bingo I was up and running, collected our dinner and went home to wait for the images to download.

I took 30 x 20 sec images which resolved the asteroid beautifully. Its currently travelling pretty slowly but will get up to a pacey 45 arcsecs per minute next week. However, its actually at its brightest in the next couple of days.

All 30 positions have now been reported to MPC.

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.41990 23 07 07.03 -05 30 34.5 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42046 23 07 06.60 -05 30 32.3 13.5 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42102 23 07 06.19 -05 30 29.7 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42156 23 07 05.80 -05 30 27.3 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42212 23 07 05.38 -05 30 24.9 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42267 23 07 04.98 -05 30 22.5 13.5 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42323 23 07 04.57 -05 30 20.2 13.5 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42378 23 07 04.15 -05 30 17.6 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42433 23 07 03.76 -05 30 15.1 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42488 23 07 03.34 -05 30 12.7 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42544 23 07 02.93 -05 30 10.2 13.5 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42604 23 07 02.49 -05 30 07.7 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42660 23 07 02.09 -05 30 05.3 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42716 23 07 01.66 -05 30 02.8 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42772 23 07 01.25 -05 30 00.3 13.5 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42828 23 07 00.85 -05 29 57.8 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42883 23 07 00.45 -05 29 55.4 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42939 23 07 00.03 -05 29 52.9 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42994 23 06 59.62 -05 29 50.7 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43049 23 06 59.22 -05 29 47.9 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43104 23 06 58.82 -05 29 45.4 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43160 23 06 58.41 -05 29 43.2 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43215 23 06 58.00 -05 29 40.7 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43271 23 06 57.61 -05 29 38.5 13.5 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43326 23 06 57.18 -05 29 36.1 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43381 23 06 56.79 -05 29 33.6 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43436 23 06 56.37 -05 29 31.1 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43492 23 06 55.96 -05 29 28.3 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43547 23 06 55.57 -05 29 26.1 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43603 23 06 55.15 -05 29 23.5 13.4 R H06

The above video is of the first 10 frames and shows the movement against the background stars.

Enjoy!!!!

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