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Giant asteroid will make a flyby of Earth over the next few days

 
chumpisme

User ID: 12637312
Canada
12/12/2012 01:16 PM
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Giant asteroid will make a flyby of Earth over the next few days
Huge Asteroid to Pass Earth Tonight: How to Watch Online

A giant asteroid will make a flyby of Earth over the next few days, and armchair astronomers can watch the action live on their computers.

The near-Earth asteroid 4179 Toutatis, which is about 3 miles (5 kilometers) wide, will zoom within 4.3 million miles (7 million kilometers) of Earth during its closest approach early Wednesday morning (Dec. 12). That's too far away to pose any impact threat on this pass, but close enough to put on a pretty good show through top-notch telescopes, researchers say.

And some of those scopes will be tracking Toutatis' movements for the benefit of skywatchers around the world. The online Slooh Space Camera and Virtual Telescope Project, for example, will both stream live, free footage of the asteroid from professional-quality observatories.


Slooh will webcast Toutatis views from a scope in the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa beginning at 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT) today (Dec. 11). Another show will follow at 10 p.m. EST tonight (0300 GMT Wednesday), with footage from an instrument in Arizona. You can watch them at Slooh's website: [link to www.slooh.com.]

Both shows will feature commentary from Slooh president Patrick Paolucci and Astronomy Magazine columnist Bob Berman. [Photos: Asteroids in Deep Space]

"Slooh technical staff will let the public follow this fast-moving asteroid in two different ways. In one view, the background stars will be tracked at their own rate and the asteroid will appear as an obvious streak or a moving time-lapse dot across the starry field," Berman said in a statement.

"In a second view, Toutatis itself will be tracked and held steady as a tiny pointlike object, while Earth's spin makes the background stars whiz by as streaks," Berman added. "Both methods will make the asteroid's speedy orbital motion obvious as it passes us in space."

Meanwhile, the Virtual Telescope Project — which is run by Gianluca Masi of Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy — will offer its own free webcast Thursday (Dec. 13) at 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT), complete with commentary from astrophysicists.

You can see that video stream here: [link to www.virtualtelescope.eu]

[link to ca.news.yahoo.com]

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