Friday, September 5, 2014

Close Approach of Asteroid 2014 RC

The asteroid 2014 RC was discovered (at ~ magnitude +20.0) on 2014, September 01.2 by Catalina Sky Survey (MPC code 703) with a 0.68-m Schmidt + CCD (and independently detected the next night by the Pan-STARRS survey).

2014 RC has an estimated size of 12 m - 26 m (based on the object's absolute magnitude H=26.8) and it will have a close approach with Earth at about 0.1 LD (Lunar Distances = ~384,000 kilometers) or 0.0003 AU (1 AU = ~150 million kilometers) at 1801 UT on 2014, September 07. This asteroid will reach the peak magnitude about +11.5 on Sep 7 between 17UT and 18UT.

We performed some follow-up measurements of this object on 2014, September 05.3, remotely from the U69 iTelescope network (Auberry California, USA) through a 0.61-m f/6.5 astrograph + CCD). Below you can see our image taken with the asteroid at about magnitude +17.4 and moving at ~ 1.71 "/min. At the moment of its close approach on Sep 7, around 18UT, 2014 RC will move at ~ 3300 "/min. Click on the image below to see a bigger version. North is up, East is to the left.

The graphic below depicts the passage of asteroid 2014 RC past Earth on September 7, 2014. At time of closest approach, the space rock will be about one-tenth the distance from Earth to the moon. Times indicated on the graphic are Universal Time.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

UPDATE - September 07, 2014

Image of asteroid 2014 RC on Sep 07 at 17:30UT,  about 30 minutes before its close approach. The asteroid was at magnitude +11.2 and moving at 2971 "/min (the asteroid is trailed in the image due to its fast speed). Click on the image below to see a bigger version. North is up, East is to the left.

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

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