Close flyby of an asteroid 2004 XP14
On the night July 3/4, 2006 an asteroid 2004 XP14 passed very close to Earth.
Its smallest distance from us was that of the Moon from Earth. Its angular
speed was also high, amounting to a little bit more than 1 arcmin/min
(recall that Moon's disc has about 30 arcmin in diameter). Thus, in the
CCD pictures with integration time of 1 min this asteroid showed as a relatively
long stroke with length of 1 arcmin.
The asteroid was discovered on Dec 10, 2004 by the LINEAR group. Although
at the begining it was considered as an object dengerous to the Earth, later on
detailed analysis of its orbit showed that there is no risk of the collision.
Asteroid 2004 XP14 is one of about 2000 asteroids forming a class of asteroids
known as Apollo, which have Earth-crossing orbits. Its size is not known very
accurately. Based on its brightness, the diameter is estimated to about 0.5 km.
On the night mentioned above I took two sequences of CCD frames of the asteroid
using our new camera with field of view of 12 arcmin x 11 arcmin. Each frame
had an integration time 1 min.
Below I present two composite pictures of 2004 XP14. These pictures were created
from a sum of the every second frame in a sequence, so there are 1 min gaps in
the asteroid path.
Date: 2006-07-04 01:02 UT
Total Exposure Time: 5 min
Date: 2006-07-04 01:23 UT
Total Exposure Time: 7 min
And below you can find two animated GIFs showing how asteroid moved across the sky.
(C) 2006 by Grzegorz Kopacki