Saturday, June 1, 2013

Another asteroid passed by on Friday

I concluded Storms from orbit and other space and astronomy news by noting a deliberate omission.
There is one major story missing from this digest.  I'm giving it an entry of its own as I'm updating it with video from today.  Stay tuned.
Here's the story that I held back.

L.A. Times: Dark, massive asteroid to fly by Earth on May 31
By Deborah Netburn
May 17, 2013
It's 1.7 miles long. Its surface is covered in a sticky black substance similar to the gunk at the bottom of a barbecue. If it impacted Earth it would probably result in global extinction. Good thing it is just making a flyby.

Asteroid 1998 QE2 will make its closest pass to Earth on May 31 at 1:59 p.m. PDT.

Scientists are not sure where this unusually large space rock, which was discovered 15 years ago, originated from. But the mysterious sooty substance on its surface could indicate it may be the result of a comet that flew too close to the sun, said Amy Mainzer, who tracks near-Earth objects at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La CaƱada Flintridge. It might also have leaked out of the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, she said.
Note the date.  NASA Television has a more current preview in ScienceCasts: Big Asteroid Flyby.

NASA is tracking a large near-Earth asteroid as it passes by the Earth-Moon system on May 31st. Amateur astronomers in the northern hemisphere may be able to see the space rock for themselves during the 1st week of June.
Follow over the jump for updates from, CNN, and Al Jazeera English. announces the most important discovery so far in Earth Crossing Asteroid Has A Moon | Video.

Radar imagery of space rock 1998 QE2 -- 1.7 miles in diameter -- shows it has a ~2000 foot wide satellite. The 'binary asteroid' will makes its closest approach to Earth on May 31st, 2013 at a range of 3.6 million miles.
CNN impresses its views with the size of the visitor in Giant asteroid sails past Earth.

CNN's Tom Foreman takes a closer look at the massive asteroid that flew past Earth on Friday afternoon.
Al Jazeera English sums up the news in Close shave with asteroid.

A massive asteroid with a diameter of 2.7km had a 'close shave' with Earth. The QE2 1998 flew past the planet at a distance of about 5.8 million kilometres, or 15 times the distance of the moon - a relatively short distance in cosmic terms. The asteroid is significantly bigger than the one that blasted over Russia in February. Al Jazeera's Gerald Tan reports.
Just a reminder everyone.

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