a preponderance of punctuation marks (reedrover) wrote,
a preponderance of punctuation marks

Tonight's asteroid flyby

Asteroid 2006 VV2 is about to fly past Earth. Tonight, March 30th, the 2 km-wide space rock will streak through the constellation Leo only 2 million miles away glowing like a 10th magnitude star. Although the asteroid will not be visible to the unaided eye, it should be an easy target for backyard telescopes equipped with CCD cameras. A movie of 2006 VV2 flying past spiral galaxy M81, featured on today's edition of http://Spaceweather.com, shows what a small telescope can accomplish. The Americas are favored for tonight's flyby, especially southern California where 2006 VV2 will glide almost directly overhead at the moment of closest approach around 11 pm PDT.

Note: There is no danger of a collision. At a distance of 2 million miles, the asteroid will be almost 9 times farther away than the Moon. The encounter is interesting because it affords astronomers an opportunity to study a large near-Earth asteroid at fairly close range. Many professional observatories will be taking data, including NASA radars, which will ping 2006 VV2 to refine its orbit and learn more about its shape and composition. Learn more at http://spaceweather.com .

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