Sunday, June 26, 2011

Asteroid 2011 MD a VERY close approach

Its not every day, that an asteroid misses by less than 3-5 earth Radii. Photographed here on Sunday evening 26th, it can be seen streaking across the sky. The photo was taken on a 20 inch telescope in New Mexico controlled by my iPhone.

Its close approach is being followed with great interest, more for honing the skills and techniques of the Minor Planet Center and the network of asteroid hunting Astronomers, rather than because it posses any real danger.

Hi-Def Youtube Version.

It will pass inside the orbit of many of the Geostationary satellites, hopefully with out hitting any of them.

In 2008 an asteroid of similar size, 2008 TC3 slammed into Sudan lighting up the night sky. A team of researchers subsequently recovered over 10 Kilograms of fragments, which further research has found contained some amino acids.

I managed to grab 10 x 120 sec images and put together this short video.


[Apologies the title says should read 2011]


  1. A blog entry on the Washington Post said you used an "iPhone controlled telescope" to capture this video. Do you have any more information on how that setup works?

  2. RJ,

    Hi, Thanks for stopping by. Yes the iPhone is a browser after all. ;-)

    You will need IOS version 4.2, as there were a few issues in 4.1. I am a fairly experienced user, you may want to try it from a PC first, until you know your way around. ;-).

  3. Near-Earth asteroid 2011 MD has passed 12,300 kilometers above the Earth's SURFACE.

    If you consider that the value of the mean Earth radius is 6,371 km, you can calculate the close approach of about 18600 km from the center of our planet and NOT from the surface.

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