Monday, May 20, 2013
Asteroid (285263) 1998 QE2 will pass by earth on May 31st 2013 at 14-15 Lunar distances. It is a massive 2.7 Kilometers wide (1.7 Miles). It is classed as a potentially hazardous asteroid as it's closest approach distance is less than 5% of the distance from the Earth to the Sun, ie. less than 0.05 AU (Astronomical units). This is it's closest approach for 200 years. In spite of the naming convention, there is no connection between it and the Cruise Liner the QE2, although some in the media are having some fun measuring its width in end to end Ocean liners. Note: there is no cause for alarm as the orbit has been well established for over a decade and posses no threat to earth in the next few centuries. I photographed it tonight remotely from iTelescope.net's iT30 at Siding Spring (Q62). Its already very bright even though it won't be passing earth until the 31st. So its a great easy target for all the scopes. Also using the Auto-Awesome feature of the new Google+ Photos, it automatically creates animated GIFs of similar photos and did a great job on 5 frames of the Asteroid images.