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2011 MD - Close Approach

27 Jun 2011, 11:55 UTC
2011 MD - Close Approach
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Today, Monday June 27 at about 17:00 UT, the asteroid designated 2011 MD will pass only 12,300 kilometers (7,600 miles) above the Earth's surface. The asteroid was discovered by Linear survey with a 1.0-m f/2.15 reflector + CCD on June 22, 2011 at magnitude 18.9.This object is only 5-20 meters in diameter and it is in a very Earth-like orbit about the Sun. Additional observations have made it possible to exclude that this object is a piece of space junk, as was suggested early on. Calculation by Bill Gray, a well-known expert on orbital dynamics, shows that this asteroid could not have been close enough to Earth any time during the space age to have started off as a rocket booster.Trajectory of 2011 MD from the general direction of the Sun(credit: Nasa)We have been able to follow-up this object few hours ago remotely from the GRAS Observatory (near Mayhill, NM) through a 0.25-m, f/3.4 reflector + CCD and from the Faulkes Telescope South through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD.At the moment of our images from New Mexico on June 27, 06:50UT, "2011 MD" was moving at about 132"/min and its magnitude was ~15. While the images from FTS were ...

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