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Fast-moving asteroid in the sky tonight

Started by Geoffw, January 18, 2022, 05:44:12 pm

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Geoffw

January 18, 2022, 05:44:12 pm Last Edit: January 18, 2022, 05:59:28 pm by Geoffw
Fast-moving asteroid in the sky tonight
Tuesday 18th January


image_2022-01-18_164332.png

A kilometre-wide asteroid is due to pass less than 2 million km Earth at 21:30 this evening (18 January 2022). The object will be visible using amateur telescopes and will move noticeably through the field of view, offering a rare opportunity to witness such an event.

The asteroid will be close to the star Alpha Piscium (Alrescha) at the time, making it easy to locate without sophisticated equipment. It will appear as a tiny starlike dot of 10th magnitude. Its change in position will be evident over a period of a minute or so. The almost full Moon will be over 90ยบ away in the sky so should not hinder observations greatly.

Telescopes larger than about 75 mm aperture should show the object, although a magnification of 50 or more will be needed to make the object easily visible.

The asteroid is (7482) 1994 PC1, discovered by Robert McNaught, a former section director of the SPA. Rob was working at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia when he discovered the object in 1994 as part of his regular survey patrols. Although it can come close to Earth, the asteroid does not pose any danger to us for the foreseeable future.

To find and view the asteroid use the maps on this news page to first identify the constellations of Cetus and Pisces, in the southern part of the sky. Then use the more detailed chart to locate the right part of the sky to find the faint asteroid
Geoff