Asteroid 2002GT and an unknown asteroid   HOME INDEX BACK NEXT

A potentially hazardous asteroid and an unknown asteroid

This sequence of four images shows two asteroids moving across the sky in the constellation Virgo.

The upper one is 2012GT, classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) because its orbit crosses that of Earth, so at some future time it could potentially strike the Earth. Astronomers continue to monitor the paths of asteroids like this.

The lower asteroid is slower moving, and it is not listed in the database of the Minor Planet Center. Although it is dim (about magnitude 20), I was able to get a few more images of this object over a period of 19 days. Based on these observations, I used online software to estimate an orbit. It is in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, with a somewhat elliptical orbit and an average distance from the Sun of about 2.7 astronomical units. Based on its brightness, it is probably somewhere between 1 and 3 kilometers across.

Image details:  Each image is based on two 6-minute exposures, using an SBIG ST8300M imager and a Meade 14-inch LX850 telescope at f/6.

April 5, 2016