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Asteroid 2010 AL30 - a close Earth flyby on Jan 13!

12 Jan 2010, 17:56 UTC
Asteroid 2010 AL30 - a close Earth flyby on Jan 13!
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The new hype in our community: 2010AL30, a 10-60m asteroid will be passing at 1/3 the distance Earth-Moon on Jan 13. Interestingly because its period is 1 year, like Earth, it was suggested that it could be a man made object.
Image of asteroid 2010 AL30 taken at 2010 Jan 12 at 15h 46m UTC by D. Herald. The asteroid is the dot near the center of the image. see link for details
As mentioned by my colleague Alan Harris on the MPML list “ its orbit doesn’t resemble any useful spacecraft trajectory, and its encounter velocity with the Earth is not unusually low, around 9.5 km/sec “v_infinity”. Perfectly ordinary Earth-crossing orbit.”
Interestingly shortly after the announcement of the discovery which was made from LINEAR observations (MPEC 2010-A59 issued on Jan 11 at 15:43), several amateur and professional astronomers around the world observed this target to help refining its orbit. Based on these astrometric positions (positions in the sky reported by these observers), two groups one based at Harvard University (MPEC) and one in Italy (NEODys) refined the orbit of the asteroid. They confirmed that the semi-major axis is very close to 1 but the eccentricity significantly high (e~0.3).
Lance ...

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