433 Eros makes (relatively) close pass of Earth

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Slightly different from most near-Earth asteroid news involving a tiny asteroid a few metres in diameter at a distance around that of the Earth to the moon, today the asteroid 433 Eros passed by at an extremely safe distance of about 27 million km. A pass at this distance is uninteresting for most asteroids, but not this one, because of two things:

1) its huge size,
2) the fact that this asteroid has already been visited and observed close up in very good detail, and
3) that collective observations of the asteroid will help us to more accurately determine its parallax, and from that the dimensions of the Solar System itself.

The Eros observation campaign will continue until the third of February, and Goldstone has completed its observations as well.


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