We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
Posted 16 May 2013 - 01:08 PM
Asteroid 1998 QE2 to Sail Past Earth Nine Times Larger Than Cruise Ship
On May 31, 2013, asteroid 1998 QE2 will sail serenely past Earth, getting no closer than about 3.6 million miles (5.8 million kilometers), or about 15 times the distance between Earth and the moon. And while QE2 is not of much interest to those astronomers and scientists on the lookout for hazardous asteroids, it is of interest to those who dabble in radar astronomy and have a 230-foot (70-meter) -- or larger -- radar telescope at their disposal.
"Asteroid 1998 QE2 will be an outstanding radar imaging target at Goldstone and Arecibo and we expect to obtain a series of high-resolution images that could reveal a wealth of surface features," said radar astronomer Lance Benner, the principal investigator for the Goldstone radar observations from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001
Andromedan Starseed 333, on 19 May 2013 - 10:21 PM, said:
nice is it going to going to be see able with the naked eye?or do we need a telescope or high powered maybe night vision binoculars or etc.?pretty interesting though and awesome
The object will attain a magnitude of ~ 16.8. Under normal conditions this would require a telescope with a objective mirror of about 33 inches (84 cm) diameter, in order to barely see it as a faint dot. The interesting views will come from radar astronomy, which will resolve features a few meters across on the object. Given the size of the object this works out to a picture of about 750 pixels per side, somewhere between the resolution of an analog and a HD television picture.
The NASA article gives the diameter as ~ 2.7 km, but the tabular data at the NASA Near Earth Object page gives a range of values of 1.1 to 2.5 km. (average -- 1.8 km) The estimated size is based on the albedo, or color of the object. The darker it is, the less light it reflects, for a given size. The current size estimate seems to be based on an unexpectedly dark object; about 17% darker than the previously estimated darkest value, and 2 & 1/4 times darker than the previous median value.