Seeing the Close Flyby of NEO 2004 BL86 26 – 27 January, 2015

The seat of asteroid 2004 BL68 every bit seen at astronomical twilight on the morn of 27 Jan 2015 (4:50 am ACDST, i in addition to a one-half hours later sunset) from Adelaide. Click to embiggen The seat of asteroid 2004 BL68 every bit seen at astronomical twilight on the morn of 27 Jan 2015 (4:50 am ACDST, i in addition to a one-half hours later sunset) from Adelaide. Click to embiggen
Printable dark in addition to white horizon nautical chart facing due west an lx minutes in addition to a one-half earlier sunrise on the 27th showing the place of 2004 BL86 every bit seen from Adelaide. Similar views volition endure seen from Southern Hemisphere locations at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen in addition to print Printable dark in addition to white binocular nautical chart an lx minutes in addition to a one-half earlier sunrise on the 27thshowing the place of 2004 BL86. The large circle is or thence the champaign of stance of 10×50 binoculars. The little circle the approximate filed of stance of a 25 mm eyepiece alongside a 114 mm Newtonian telescope. Click to embiggen in addition to impress

Near public Asteroid  2004 BL68 will  come upwardly unopen to public on 16:20 UT 26 Jan at distance of 0.008 AU (around 3.1 Earth-Moon distances). It is brightest at 04:00 UT on the 27th though. It has an estimated diameter of 680m (a fleck over one-half a kilometer). The asteroid volition endure a reasonably brilliant magnitude 9.0 at closest approach, in addition to it comes unopen to the iconic Beehive cluster when it is withal bright.

The flyby of 2004 BL86 volition endure the closest yesteryear whatever known asteroid of this size until 2027 when asteroid 1999 AN10 goes yesteryear Earth. It is likewise the brightest since 2012 DA14 inwards 2013.

Unfortunately, from Commonwealth of Australia the asteroid is below the horizon at its brightest. We larn to meet it when it is betwixt magnitudes 10-9.6. The theshold for unaided oculus viewing is magnitude 6, thence the asteroid is quite dim. Australians tin meet the asteroid deed from Puppis (on the tardily eve of the 26th, Commonwealth of Australia day) through Monocerous in addition to into Hydras.

While the asteroid tin endure picked upwardly yesteryear high halt binoculars nether dark heaven conditions, for nearly observers little telescopes volition endure required. My little 114 mm Newtonian alongside a 25 mm eyepiece allows me to meet stars dimmer than magnitude 10.

The printable charts inwards a higher house volition likewise assist y’all bring out the asteroid. For telescope users, the picture volition endure upside downward compared to the charts (so concur the binocular/telescope nautical chart upside down). Remember, when looking for the asteroid let at to the lowest degree 5 minutes or to a greater extent than (10 is better) for your eyes to adjust in addition to overstep away dark adapted. Here’s some hints on dark adaption of your eyes. If using the charts above, comprehend your torch alongside ruby-red cellophane thence every bit to non destroy your dark vision.

When looking for the asteroid inwards the early on morning, nosotros get got a expert signpost in addition to viewing opportunity. The asteroid comes unopen to (eastern states) in addition to crosses (western in addition to key states) the relatively brilliant (magnitude 5.8) opened upwardly cluster M48 earlier astronomical twilight. If y’all bring out the opened upwardly cluster thence y’all tin army camp out on it in addition to scout the asteroid creep towards it.

You tin bring out the cluster fairly easily. If y’all describe a trouble betwixt Jupiter in addition to Sirrius (the ii brightest objects inwards the heaven at this time), thence describe a trouble perpendicular from procyon (the 3rd brightest object inwards that exercise of the sky) to the Jupiter – Sirius line, y’all should endure able to (just see) M48. It volition endure quite obvious inwards binoculars or a telescopes finder scope.

With the cluster inwards view, sweep slow southward about one-half a champaign of stance at a time. The asteroid may endure initially hard to distinguish every bit a fairly dim dot, fifty-fifty inwards a telescope, but it is the entirely dimmish point moving slow in addition to relentlessly towards the cluster.  It may get got one-half an lx minutes to cross the champaign of stance of a broad champaign eye-piece, but it’s motion is fast plenty to alternative it up.

For key states the asteroid crosses the cluster from about 4:40 to 4:50 am ACDST (3:40-3:50 ACST), for Western Commonwealth of Australia the asteroid crosses M48 betwixt roughly 2:10 am – 2:20 am AWST (it is much higher inwards the sky, thence easier to alternative upwardly inwards WA). In the eastern states the asteroid is ii cluster widths away from M48 at astronomical twilight (roughly 3:48 am AEST in addition to 4:36 am AEDST).

For those of y’all familiar alongside charts in addition to ephemerides, y’all tin generate your ain ephemeris using the MPEC ephemeris generator.

Use your longitude in addition to latitude for an ephemeris for your location, shout out back the times are inwards UT adn it is best to lead in addition to observing interval of about xv minutes every bit the asteroid is moving relatively quickly.

Here’s some NEO’s I’ve captured inwards the past.