ASTEROID FLYBY: Asteroid 2010 TG19 is flying past the Earth-Moon system today, Oct. 22nd, only 24,000 miles beyond the orbit of the Moon. The 70-meter space rock is about twice the size of the asteroid or comet that flattened a forest in Siberia in 1908. In this case, however, there is no danger of a collision.
Astronomers at the Sormano Astronomical Observatory in Italy photographed the asteroid's approach on Oct. 21st using a 20-inch telescope: image.
ORIONID METEOR UPDATE: Earth is exiting a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, the source of the annual Orionid meteor shower. According to preliminary counts from the International Meteor Organization, the shower peaked on Oct. 21st with 35 meteors per hour. Antonio Finazzi caught this one flying over Chiuduno, Italy:
Finazzi's photo shows why many observers saw almost nothing of the display--big moonlight! Only the brightest few Orionids were able to piece the glare. Activity should continue at reduced levels for another day or two with continued interference from the Moon. Listen for stragglers at Spaceweather Radio.
more images: from Thomas Ashcraft near Santa Fe, New Mexico; from William Stewart of Ravensmoor, Nantwich, Cheshire, UK; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Veszprem, Hungary; from Chris Peterson of Guffey, Colorado; from Brian Emfinger of Ozark, Arkansas
SUNDIVING COMET: The solar system now has one less comet. On Oct 21st, a sundiving comet discovered by Chinese amateur astronomer Bo Zhou passed too close to the sun and apparently evaporated. SOHO coronagraphs recorded the death plunge:
The comet was likely a member of the Kreutz sungrazer family. Named after a 19th century German astronomer who studied them in detail, Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a giant comet at least 2000 years ago. Several of these fragments are thought to pass by the sun and disintegrate every day. Most are too small to see but occasionally a big fragment like this one attracts attention.
October 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs
) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones
all the time.
On October 22, 2010 there were 1155 potentially hazardous asteroids. Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
| ||The official U.S. government space weather bureau |
| ||The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena. |
| ||Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever. |
| ||3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory |
| ||Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |