One of these days… one of these days….
ASTEROID DOUBLE FLYBY: On Sept. 7th, a newly discovered asteroid about the size of a large grey whale flew over the south pole of Earth only 25,000 miles away. For scale, that’s only a few thousand miles above the orbits of typical geosynchronous satellites. After the Earth flyby, the space rock turned and headed in the general direction of the Moon, executing a wider flyby of 179,000 miles on Sept. 8th. Where will this asteroid go next?
Where to next? This asteroid spends all of its time in the inner solar system. In Oct. 2017 it will fly by Venus. In March 2020 it will fly by Venus again before returning to Earth in June of the same year. Not one of these encounters is expected to result in an impact. [So they tell us.] This table from NASA lists the many close approaches of 2016 RB1.
Asteroid 2016 RB1 was discovered on Sept. 5th by astronomers using the 60-inch Cassegrain reflector telescope of the Catalina Sky Survey, located at the summit of Mount Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Arizona. [How many more are out there which they haven’t discovered, I wonder.]
Visit http://spaceweather.com for answers and photos of today’s encounter with Earth.
To the Moon, huh?