Asteroid 3122 Florence is the biggest asteroid spotted since these flying chunks of rock were first categorized over a century ago. And she’s sweeping right by on September 1!
Asteroid 3122 Florence is coming and its huge!
This asteroid, named after- yes, Florence Nightingale, should be visible to the backyard viewer with telescopes and binoculars. Thankfully, it will safely pass by our planet at a range not much better than 18 times the Earth-moon distance, says EarthSky.
According to Paul Chodas of Near Earth Object Studies, this flying mountain is approximately 2.7 miles (4.3 km) wide. And its now heading our way! This is the closest our planet will be to this particular asteroid since 1890, an up-front and personal encounter that will not re-occur till the year 2500.
Asteroid 3122 Florence is the biggest asteroid classified on the Potentially Hazardous list and also is the brightest, making it a relatively easy view with the telescopes and binoculars. Radar scientists hope to receive high detailed images of Florence that will reveal surface details as small as 30 feet (10 meters).
If you’re planning on watching, and you have a minimum of a 5” diameter telescope you may just get a glimpse of Florence a few nights prior to September 1, 2017. On August 27, it will be in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus, appearing about 19 degrees above the southern horizon from central U.S. Then, later, it will show again in the August 29 night sky, when the asteroid gets into Capricornus and ascends to 33 degrees as seen from Kansas. The closest approach, however, will be on the actual September 1 date at 8:06 am EDT.
Florence will be breezing by at a speed of approximately 30,266 miles per hour (48,708 km/h) but its distance will make it seem slower giving observers about 5-10 minutes to watch its progress as it traverses the night sky.
Featured Image: https://twitter.com/RonBaalke/status /448458814111494144
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