NEO News (02/26/15): Asteroid politics

Feb 26
NEO NEWS IS TWENTY YEARS OLD!   Pete Worden is leaving NASA at end of March. Readers of NEO News will remember that Pete has been a consistent supporter of NEA studies and planetary defense, in the Air Force where he rose to the rank of Brigadier General, in several policy related positions in Washington, and for the past nine years as Director of NASA Ames Research Center (and my boss).   In the early

Asteroid 2004 BL86 visible in your telescope

Jan 16
  Sky map showing the track of asteroid 2004 BL86 across the evening sky. Image credit: universetoday.com, made with Chris Marriott’s SkyMap program. In our previous article we already introduced you to a big asteroid that is coming into our neighborhood soon: Asteroid 2004 BL86 will pass by at approximately 3.1 lunar distances (or 1.2 million kilometers). Thanks to its size (somewhere around 680m in diameter) the asteroid will even be visible through small telescopes

Dawn spacecraft is approaching the asteroid Ceres

Dec 15
View of Ceres during the approach of the Dawn spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA The Dawn spacecraft mission by NASA has returned a first image of its final target: The dwarf planet Ceres. Ceres is the main body in the asteroid belt that lays between Mars and Jupiter. The Dawn spacecraft calibrated its cameras by taking this image from the planet towards which it is heading. As is required for an object to be called a

“Mountain-sized” asteroid fortunatly not on collision course

Dec 10
Trajectory simulation of asteroid 2014 UR116. Credit: NASA/JPL Near Earth Objects are discovered quite regularly, but fortunatly they are often small and their orbits pose no threat to Earth. This week however Russian scientists announced they found an object that was getting a bit to close for comfort: The “mountain-sized” astroid that they found, going by the designation 2014 UR116, was initially projected by them to pass so close to Earth that it could pose