Friday, May 31, 2013

Asteroid 1998 QE2 Flyby 5-31-13 With a Companion Moon

Hey Space Placers!

Today the 1.7-mile wide space rock 1998 QE2 will harmlessly fly by Earth at a distance of 3.6 million miles at 4:59 p.m. EDT. It is much larger than the 150-foot asteroid 2012 DA 14. It was also discovered on May 29th during radar observations of the space rock that 1998 QE2 has a moon. 16% of observed near Earth asteroids have moons. 1998 QE2’s moon is about 2,000 feet across, or many times the size of 2012 DA 14.

Asteroid Moon (splash)

The flyby will not be visible in the night sky to the unaided eye but amateur astronomers with backyard telescopes may catch a glimpse of the asteroid next week. NASA has been observing the asteroid using radar and will continue to do so for the next few days. Observations show dark surface features on 1998 QE2 and it is known to have a dark composition as it reflects only 6% of sunlight, making it darker than coal.

NASA recently announced its’ asteroid plans and at 2-3 p.m. EDT, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver will participate in a White House "We the Geeks" Google+ Hangout. Participants will discuss asteroid identification, characterization, resource utilization, and hazard mitigation. The hangout can be viewed at the White House website at: 
You can also tune in on the Internet to watch live coverage of the flyby starting a 4:30 p.m. at
This is the closest pass of 1998 QE2 for the next two centuries. Get more information about 1998 QE2 here:
Sky Guy in VA

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