The first image of the asteroid that will greet Earth on June 27 – Space and Astronomy

The first image of the asteroid that will greet Earth on June 27 – Space and Astronomy

The first image was taken of the asteroid referred to by the abbreviation (415029) 2011 UL21, which will receive the Earth on June 27: There is no danger to our planet, as the object will remain more than 6.6 million kilometers away, that is, 17 times the distance that separates us from the Moon. Despite this, its close pass will be quite noteworthy: with an estimated diameter of about 2.3 km, this asteroid would actually enter the list of the 10 largest asteroids that have ever passed at a distance of 7.5 million km from 1900 to today. The image was acquired on May 24 by Gianluca Masi, Ernesto Guido and Marco Rocchetto using a robotic telescope installed in Australia by Spaceflux.

Massey, an astrophysicist and scientific director of the Virtual Telescope Project, says: “The ‘potentially dangerous asteroid’ is a precise official definition that relates to objects larger than about 140 meters and capable of approaching within 7.5 million kilometers of Earth.” “In other words, the largest asteroids capable of reaching a sufficiently close distance to our planet receive such a classification – concludes the astrophysicist – which does not necessarily indicate that they are necessarily destined to collide with the Earth, but only that they deserve special attention.”

Asteroid 2011 UL21 will only be visible from the Southern Hemisphere until its close pass date: starting on the evening of June 27, however, it will ascend rapidly among the increasingly northern stars, gradually becoming visible also from Italy. It will reach maximum brightness at night between June 28 and 29, but for the entire first week of July it will remain accessible to amateur instruments. On June 30, starting at 10.30 pm, the Virtual Telescope project will show the asteroid in a live broadcast hosted by Gianluca Masi, who will remotely use the telescopes of the Virtual Telescope installed in Manciano (Grosseto), under the darkest skies of the Italian continent.

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