Monday, January 28, 2008

It's not just space telescopes doing cool stuff

Groundpounder astronomers at the Aricebo Observatory in Puerto Rico were watching and documenting newly discovered asteroid TU24 as it passed today within 1.4 lunar distances, or 334,000 miles, of Earth.

Between 150 and 600 meters in diameter – about 500 feet to 1,900 feet, TU24 was discovered last October by the University of Arizona’s Catalina Sky Survey, according to the NASA/JetPropulsion Lab's Near Earth Object Program

It "poses no threat to Earth", we are assured, but its near approach gives Arecibo astronomers opportunity to learn more about this and "other potentially hazardous near-Earth objects" --whatever the Aricebans mean by that: rogue-orbiting satellites? Human generated space junk, generally?

A greater danger is that Arecibo Observatory itself is beleaguered!

(JPL image)

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