Monday, July 14, 2008

Binary asteroid - main body ~600 meters - to come within 2.3 million km today

A binary asteroid discovered last winter, 2008 BT18, will approach Earth to within 0.1509 AU or 2.26 million kilometers later today (closest approach is around 14:00 UTC): nothing to worry about but a fine opportunity for intense radar imaging a few days ago. Visual observers have a harder time: Yesterday the phase angle was around 150°, with the asteroid very close to the Sun in Mon and CMa, now its moving away from the Sun's glare but rushing South. Today it moves through Lep and Col, in a few days it'll be at -50° declination. The brightness, at least, should stay rather constant around 13th mag. as more and more of its bright side is facing Earth.

In other news we have images of the big Boattini of July 13 and July 12, little Boattini of July 11 and Lulin of July 12 and July 11. • The developments around the Great Red Spot on Jupiter can be tracked in image collections of July 13 (the Little Red Spot seems back!), July 12, July 10, July 8 and July 7 (no images of the right area were archived for July 9 and 11). • Finally a nicely edited video of the total solar eclipse of 2003 from an airplane, with many soundbites ...

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