Friday, September 1, 2017

Sky Guy Internet ALERT!!! 9/1/17 BIG Space Rock Florence Flyby

Hey Space Placers!

A BIG asteroid, 3122 Florence passed by today at 8:06 a.m. EDT JUST 18 times the distance to the Moon - THAT is a close shave in terms of distance - a little over 4 million miles.

From EarthSky:
Radar images of asteroid 3122 Florence, obtained from August 29, 2017 via Goldstone Radar in California. Higher resolution radar images expected in the next few days, as the space rock will also be studied from Arecibo Observatory. Image via NASA/JPL.
Florence will be visible tonight in backyard telescopes and maybe even binoculars if you know where to look.

From EarthSky:
During late August and early September, the near-Earth asteroid 3122 Florence passes Earth as close as 4.4 million miles from Earth. It will be bright enough to spot in modest backyard telescopes, and possibly binoculars. Note that the labeled dates on this chart mark the asteroid’s location at 11 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time; translate to your time zone. Diagram via SkyandTelescope.com.
You can get more details on how to spot Florence here. I will be clouded in until Sunday so I will try to watch the flyby via  Bareket Observatory in Israel host a webcast of this asteroid pass on September 1, 2017 beginning at   EDT.

At at about 3 miles across Florence would cause great devastation to our planet if it were to hit. NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office tracks Florence as well as other asteroids and comets.

We need telescopes and spacecraft to detect and protect our planet from these interlopers. If not, we will go the way of the dinosaurs someday as they were wiped out by a comet or asteroid about twice the size of Florence.

Sky Guy in VA

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