Star Tribune reports that NASA has announced that two small asteroids were discovered Sunday by the Catalina Sky Survey, which is funded by NASA, in Arizona. Like all good neighbors, they are coming to visit. Thank goodness the ‘Do not disturb” sign is posted in our space; they will both zip by without upsetting any part of our world.
NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations program is located at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. It is responsible for finding potentially dangerous asteroids. Once found, an assessment is made to determine if there is a risk of hitting the Earth.
In addition to tne Near-Earth Object Ovservations program in Pasadena, there is a Minor Planet Center in Massachusetts, with the responsibility to track asteroids and comets. They determined there was no chance of a collision with Earth. Asteroid 2010 RX30 is believed to be about 32 to 65 feet long. It will pass within 154,000 miles of earth just before 3 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) Wednesday, September 8. Asteroid 2010 RF12, about 20 to 46 feet long, is scheduled to pass by about 11 hours later, at a distance of 49,000 miles.
Space.com comments that this is an unprecedented event for astronomers. Other asteroids have passed this close, but not two so close together in time. Those with telescopes who are willing to arise at such an early hour will be able to see the first asteroid, and then at a more decent time, the second. Because of the speed and erratic pattern of travel, it will be difficult to view the asteroids, even with a telescope.
Please note that the credit for discovery is given to the Catalina Sky Survey by the Star Tribune, with information from AP. Space.com gives discovery credit to the Mount Lemmon Survey.
For those who are not able, for one reason or another, to track the asteroids, Space.com has an incredible image gallery that will give you examples of asteroids racing around space, as well as images of deep space and the solar system. You can find the image gallery here.
Star Tribune, 2 newly discovered asteroids to make harmless pass by Earth
Denise Chow, 2 Asteroids to pass Earth closer than the moon