Newly-discovered asteroid 2011 MD will pass only 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) above Earth's surface on Monday June 27 at about 9:30 a.m. EDT. NASA analysts say there is no chance the space rock will strike Earth. Nevertheless, the encounter is so close that Earth's gravity will sharply alter the asteroid's trajectory.
Two more big Rocks farther out there.....
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The clouds are back after we did manage to get 2 inches of rain last week. That High Dome is back over our Portal to the Universe this last week in June. A few of us from the Group spent some more time at the Dome Site last week and finished cleaning the Dome. Discussed trees again (to be cut). The past week, I have observed Saturn near the Star Porrima, high in the SW, floating in a hazy, partly cloudy sky. I am still waiting to put Albireo in my FOV. Over the tree line after 11pm. Two things to look for this week: a chance the clouds will break so we can observe and a chance for some more rain at the end of the week?
Monday, About an hour before sunrise Tuesday morning, look east. Above and below the waning crescent Moon are the Pleiades and Mars, respectively, as shown at right. Binoculars will help. A tiny new near-Earth asteroid named 2011 MD, discovered by the LINEAR project on June 22nd, passes less than one Earth diameter from Earth's surface. It's estimated to be 8 to 18 meters (25 to 55 feet) wide.
Thursday, Low in the west-northwest during twilight, Mercury finally forms a straight line with fainter Castor and Pollux. Look about 45 minutes after sunset.
Friday, New Moon phase begins (exact at 4:54 a.m. EDT). A small telescope shows Saturn's largest moon, Titan, about four ring-lengths east of the planet this evening and tomorrow evening. They're a little less that 3 arcminutes apart. Bright Porrima is 32 arcminutes to Saturn's northwest. And a little closer to Saturn's northeast is a yellow star of 6th magnitude.
News from the Net:
Close Approach: Images and Animations of Asteroid 2011 MD
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