Friday, October 18, 2013

Asteroid 2013 TV135 (PHA)

UPDATE 2: 19/10/2013.

Last night I got another 6 images of asteroid 2013 TV135. I have stacked them here at 1.4 arcsecs/m at Position Angle 210.3 allowing for the movement of the asteroid. This is a technique astronomers use to build the signal to noise ratio and derive a more precise position.

Image Credit: P.Lake 6x120sec images stacked. T11 H06.

Asteroid 2013 TV135 images from H06 at I managed to grab 6 images and stack them. I was hoping for a few more but the roof closed due to weather .

Discovered by G. Borisov & T. Kryachko of the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory Observatory, Nauchny, (095) on October 8th. Initially it is listed as a "Virtual Impactor" on Sentry JPL with a Rating of 1 on the Torino Scale. This is NOT that unusual for a new PHA, as at the time these measurements were taken there was only 8 days of arc available. It is expected that further observations will move this off the Torino Scale back to Rating 0 as the precision of the orbit improves over the next few days.

Asteroid 2013 TV135 will make a close approach to earth in the Year 2032 and is 410meters in diameter and is currently attracting a bit of media interest.

Its important to remember that new asteroids (this one has only 9 days of arc) usually don't stay on the Torino Scale (the risk register) for long, as further data updates increase the precision of the orbit, and usually quickly remove them as potential impactors.

UPDATED: October 19 Leonid Elenin makes the point on his blog (in Russian) that the current zone of uncertainty is about 1/5th of its orbit, so its way to early to be talking virtual impactors. Leonid's best estimate at this stage is an approach of about around 0.0077 AU which is close to about 1 Lunar Distance.

The most interesting aspect of the orbit, in the discussions I have seen, is the inclination to the ecliptic of 6.8 degrees and that it tracks close to Earth for a couple of hours. Removing the uncertainty around this time period will be the task facing observatories over the next few days/months.

Footnote: The 6 images here shown in the video had quite low signal to noise ratio which I improved a bit by stacking them in three pairs to improve the Signal to Noise ratio enough to get a good measure on them. This is partly due to the current full moon.

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