Asteroid 2023 BU - Online Session

By Johannes Stübler posted 01-27-2023 04:38

Gianluca Masi,, AWB NC from Italy, presented yesterday a great LIVE-show. He tracked the fast asteroid 2023 BU and thousands of interested people could watch the movement of this little cosmic rock fragment. Incredible what todays technique can do.

The image from 24. Jan. comes from a single, 300-second exposure, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″ + Paramount ME + SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at Virtual Telescope. The telescope tracked the apparent motion of the asteroid, this is why stars look like long trails while the asteroid is a sharp dot of light.

At the imaging time, asteroid 2023 BU was at about 580.000 km from us and was approaching our planet. The minimum distance (10.000 km, less than 3% of the average lunar distance, 1/4 of the distance of geostationary satellites) will be reached on 27 Jan. at 00:26 UTC (source: Nasa/JPL). It will fly about 3.600 km above the Earth’s surface: this makes it the 4th closest asteroid ever (excluding those – five – discovered just before their impact).

This 3.8 – 8.4 meters large asteroid (source: Nasa/JPL) was discovered by G. Borisov on 21 Jan. 2023 and announced the following day. Of course, there are no risks at all for our planet. Today we know, the asteroid passed.

It was fascinating to see live the increasing speed of the asteroid during yesterdays (26.Jan.) live-observing session. Gian did a great job, and he made perfect use of the short time window during the cloud gaps in Rome. Images with 30sec (Binning 2x2) and at least 5sec. images (Binning 3x3) showed the increasing speed and the growing length of the startrails. Congratulation Gian, your show was a master stroke! I am looking forward to see the animation of this observation.

People who want to support his great project (Virtual Teescope), can do this HERE