2011 QY37 – a month after discovery, what’s in the future?

NASA / JPL

It has been a month since the discovery of our observatory’s second near-Earth asteroid, and during that month the precision of its orbit has significantly improved. On the basis of new data we can attempt a glimpse into the future.

So, asteroid 2011 QY37 came closest to the Earth on Sept. 24th, passing 0.7 a.u. from our planet. The asteroid is a rather large body and will be observable from our observatory until the beginning of next year. Thus, its observation arc has increased to 5 months.

The next close approach of asteroid 2011 QY37 will be more favorable; in November of 2015 it will pass 0.4 a.u. from Earth, achieving a maximum brightness of magnitude 18.4. At that apparition, we will be able to observe the asteroid for half a year. The next time 2011 QY37 comes close to the Earth at the end of November 2019, it will reach mag. 17.6! It will pass at an absolutely safe distance of 0.3 a.u. This approach will be the closest for this asteroid in the near future. In 2024 it will pass 0.68 a.u. from the Earth with a maximum brightness of mag. 19.3.

At the beginning of 2012 we will increase the precision of the asteroid’s orbit, and we will return again to the analysis of future approaches of this harmless celestial body. Remember, the next close approach of another near-Earth asteroid discovered at our observatory – 2010 RN80, will take place in 2037!

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Real facts about comet Elenin

  1. At this moment the comet disintegrated into a large number of small fragments, which we may be able to see with the large telescope at the early October;
  2. The fragments of the comet did not change it path and will be flying by orbit of the comet, i.e., not will come to the Earth closer than 35 000 000 km;
  3. Currently the comet Elenin is not visible on the images from the SOHO and STEREO spacecrafts;
  4. Comet visible on images from the spacecraft STEREO-B (HI-1 camera) is comet 45P / (Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova);
  5. Comet Elenin, even if not disintegrated, do not eclipse the Sun, the density of a comet’s gas envelopes (coma) is negligible and earthly observer would not have noticed this event;
  6. The Earth will not pass through the tail of the comet, because at now it does not exist;
  7. The comet will not cause and couldn’t do any harm to us and our planet.
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Will we see a comet Elenin on SOHO images?

ESA / NASA / JPL

Since September 23, the comet Elenin may be visible in the field of view of spacecoronagraph C3, installed on the spacecraft SOHO. As  comet disintegrated or still disintegrating, there is a strong likelihood that we did not see anything or see it, but only after post processing of the original images (I recommend not work with JPG files, to avoid possible artifacts). On images comet will move from left to right, “under” the Sun. It may be seen as a fuzzy, hardly visible cloud. Stay tuned.

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MPC statistic for August – September 2011

The new monthly MPC circular released – MPC 75799 – 76268.

ISON-NM statistic for the previous month (August 9 – September 6):

Number of measurements: 12150

Measured objects: 2763

Discovered objects: 45*

Sky coverage: 320 sq. degrees

Observing nights**: 19

* – include NEA – 2011 QY37 and two Jovian trojans – 2011 QJ9, 2011 QQ47

** – include partial nights

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The ISON-NM observatory’s second near-earth asteroid

Pearson Prentice Hall, Inc.

August 27th at the ISON-NM Observatory, a new, second near-Earth asteroid was discovered, receiving the designation 2011 QY37. The object belongs to the Amor family and presents no hazard to the Earth. The minimum distance of its orbit to Earth’s is more than 39 million kilometers. The asteroid orbits on a rather extended orbit (eccentricity 0.51), with a period of 3.91 years.

Closest approach to the Earth will happen Sept 25th, when asteroid 2011 QY 37 passes 0.7 a.u. from our planet (104.7 million km). The next few years will be favorable for observing this object. In November 2015 it will reach 18th magnitude at a distance of 0.31 a.u. In January 2020, 2011 QY37 will be a little farther with a brightness of magnitude 18.5.

Although this is a preliminary prediction, the accuracy of the orbit will improve. We will be able to observe this object until the beginning of the next year. After that we will certainly return to this asteroid again.

Remember, our first near-Earth asteroid was discovered Sept. 10, 2010 and received the designation 2010 RN80. In addition, another near-Earth object is a second comet – P/2011 NO1, discovered at the ISON-NM Observatory in July of this year.

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