Thursday, October 14, 2010

Asteroid Fly-By Caught on Camera

The risk you face of dying as a result of an asteroid impact is about 1 in 20,000, the same risk you face of dying in a plane crash.

- Source: Spaceguard Survey (PDF download)
It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. This near-Earth asteroid was caught on camera as it streaked closely by the planet yesterday:

Animation of 2010 TD54 composed of subframes recorded during the approach on Oct. 12, 2010 with Paramount ME, Celestron C-14 operating at f/5.5, SBIG ST-10 binned 3x3 with clear filter. Field of view is about 18x26 arc minutes. Mount set to allow the target to pass through the field of view. 16 five second exposures shot between 08:51:51 and 08:54:04 UTC.- Credit: Patrick Wiggins (MPC Code 718)

But don't panic yet!  Underfunded astronomers are watching the sky for danger.

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