A sequence of four images reveal the motion of asteroid 2009 DD45 (at center) over 36 minutes during its discovery on February 27th. Credit: Robert McNaught / ANU / UA

Asteroid 2009 DD45 Just Buzzed by Earth

2 Mar , 2009 by

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As I’m writing this (13:40 UT) a newly-discovered asteroid, 2009 DD45, is flying past Earth at only 74,800 km (46,478.5 miles or 0.000482 AU) away. That’s only about twice the height of a typical geostationary communications satellite, and well inside the moon’s orbit. According to Spaceweather.com, the 30- to 40-meter wide space rock is similar in size to the Tunguska impactor of 1908, but this time there is no danger of a collision. At closest approach on March 2nd, (which just occurred) 2009 DD45 will speed through the constellation Virgo shining as brightly as an 11th magnitude star. So if you’re in the Pacific region like Hawaii or Tahiti, go out and take a look! But this rock is moving fairly fast, and by tonight, it will only be 13th magnitude, and fading fast.
UPDATE: Below see video of 2009 DD45 as seen from Australia:

(thanks to Aaron Slack for the heads up on the video)

The asteroid was only discovered three days ago by the prolific asteroid hunter Robert McNaught at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia, when the space rock was already within 2,414,016 km (1½ million miles) of Earth and closing fast. If you want to try and track it, here’s the ephemeris information from the Minor Planet Center.

The MPC also has an interesting list of the closest approaches to Earth by other minor planets.

Sources: Spaceweather.com, Sky and Telescope


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Emission Nebula
Guest
Emission Nebula
March 2, 2009 8:22 AM

Whew!!! That was close.

Great video btw.

Sofia
Guest
Sofia
March 2, 2009 8:24 AM

It’s amazing fast !!!

A. Azeez Abubakr
Guest
A. Azeez Abubakr
March 2, 2009 8:43 AM

Thats awesome,
could you tell from which direction to which direction did it pass by? please. Thanks

Jon Hanford
Member
Jon Hanford
March 2, 2009 8:46 AM

Where’s this rock going long term after this brush by Earth. I haven’t seen any long term orbital info as to whether this object will be a future threat to us. Obviously its orbit will be greatly altered by this close approach to Earth, but is it just too soon after its discovery to compute its long term orbit accurately? This may be no ‘dinosaur killer’ sized asteroid, but it sure would be a bad day for anyone near its’ point of impact!

Steve
Guest
Steve
March 2, 2009 9:04 AM

I thought that was a time lapse video until I saw the clock on the bottom left.

Sure glad that missed us. That was going amazingly fast.

Joe
Guest
Joe
March 2, 2009 5:29 PM

What’s the old line, don’t worry about the bullets you can hear / see.

Bill F
Guest
Bill F
March 2, 2009 5:33 PM

So much for any early warning…

Salacious B. Crumb
Guest
Salacious B. Crumb
March 2, 2009 6:46 PM

Yeah! I saw it too, and my immediately thought it was more American space junk tossed (yet again) at Australia!
Guessed you missed this time.

Silver Thread
Member
Silver Thread
March 2, 2009 7:30 PM

YIKES!!! We wouldn’t have even had time to send up two crews of roughneck oil drillers with nuclear missiles on modified space shuttles to deflect this one.

It makes you wonder how many “Near Misses” we’ve actually lucked out of and how long our luck will actually last.

Maxwell
Member
Maxwell
March 2, 2009 7:42 PM

“You’ll never hear the one that gets ya” if I recall that phrase correctly.

Which is the unfortunate truth in our case.
I suspect space is allot more full of rogue objects than we’ve dared to accept, and we’ve been getting brushed like this on a regular basis without knowing a thing about it.

We mostly seem to find the ones that just zipped harmlessly past.

marc
Guest
marc
March 2, 2009 9:28 PM

whew???? where is the goverment at on notifications, what else arn’t they telling us about?

mewo
Member
mewo
March 2, 2009 9:52 PM

This rock that’s just missed us wouldn’t have caused more damage than the Tunguska event. Very bad news for anyone directly under it, but hardly a threat to civilization as we know it.

I’m not worried at all by the fact that we didn’t see this one until it was already whizzing by us. The big rocks that can cause the real damage are a) far less numerous and b) far easier to see.

techqc
Member
techqc
March 2, 2009 11:17 PM
Wrong, worse than simply incorrect: ” # Nexus Says: March 2nd, 2009 at 9:52 pm This rock that’s just missed us wouldn’t have caused more damage than the Tunguska event. Very bad news for anyone directly under it, but hardly a threat to civilization as we know it. I’m not worried at all by the fact that we didn’t see this one until it was already whizzing by us. The big rocks that can cause the real damage are a) far less numerous and b) far easier to see. ” Yeah you just wait till someone with nukes mistakes one of those ‘hardly a threat’ bombs as being the first of a nuke assault. Our descendants would be… Read more »
Goran
Guest
March 3, 2009 5:31 AM

What brilliant footage. Now every time I look into the sky and see a movement I have to think is it a satellite or a asteroid. 75km is nothing, imaging the damage.

Feenixx
Member
March 3, 2009 5:33 AM

Too close and not enough early warning for comfort.
If this rock had struck the little country I live in (Ireland), life wouldn’t be the same for anybody here who survived, for many years to come…. if ever again at all, at all!
The crater alone would be between 300 metres and 500 metres across.

Dear Nexus: the Tunguska event caused a LOT of damage, even though the “Thing” exploded before it reached ground zero. It just so happened that the area was uninhabited for hundreds of kilometers around the site. If that lump had struck a little over four hours later, London today would be a memorial site.

Howard T
Member
March 3, 2009 6:46 AM

It’s disturbing that someone would think a bigger asteroid would be easier to see and would be detected earlier…

I doubt that we could mount a warhead and ready a rocket in time to vaporize it or blow it into smaller pieces. We need to get on the stick!

Given worldwide media coverage these days, there should be no danger of anyone thinking it was a missile strike. The “Mutually Assured Destruction” scenario still applies….

Howard T
Member
March 3, 2009 7:30 AM
A thought. We need observation for threatening asteroids… from space, not just on earth. Currently NASA is contemplating what to do with theDSCOVR satellite. How about adding insruments to scan for asteroids? (It’s meant to operate from the L1 Lagrange point.) This would be an ideal vantage point.. Further, another valid utilization of the satellite might tip the balance toward deciding not to waste the time and money already spent. Further, if we have empty space on one of the upcoming shuttle missions, we could get it up there for little cost. Even further out… we could park a satellite with missiles in really distant orbit… then next time another asteroid comes our way, we could do something… Read more »
Feenixx
Member
March 3, 2009 8:07 AM

note to self: double-check the facts before posting things I learned years ago from memory:
in my previous post, for “London”, read “St. Petersburg”.
Quite a difference, eh? Sorry about that……

Jaska
Guest
Jaska
March 3, 2009 11:37 AM

This proves the Power of God Almighty and His endless mercy. Everything that happens has got its reasons…

druidbloke
Guest
druidbloke
March 3, 2009 12:05 PM

>> This proves the Power of God Almighty and His endless mercy. Everything that happens has got its reasons…

Yes as when an abusive parent shakes their baby so hard it causes brain damage and they die.

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