Asteroid 2012 BX34 to fly by the Earth today

Saturday, January 28, 2012

As is sometimes the case, a newly discovered yet small asteroid is set to fly by the Earth at a very close distance and is making some headlines. This new asteroid is called 2012 BX34 (2012 = discovered in 2012), is about 11 metres in diameter, and will fly by at a distance 0.2 times that of the Earth to the moon.

You may remember the flyby of asteroid 2005 YU55, a quite large one at 400 metres in diameter and a distance just closer than that from the Earth to the moon. That flyby gave us some quite remarkable detail of the asteroid:

and other flybys of asteroids tracked by Goldstone and Arecibo have also given us a few good images. 2001 SN263 for example at 2 km in diameter gave us this image at 11.2 km:

So 2012 BX34 should be good for a few pixels if there are any plans to get a radar 'image' or two of it.

2012 BX34 will be a strong radar target at Goldstone and we hope to obtain 3.75-meter-resolution images using the chirp system and digital receiver.

The orbit of the asteroid is as follows:


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