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

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

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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


29 Responses

  1. Emission Nebula says:

    Whew!!! That was close.

    Great video btw.

  2. Sofia says:

    It’s amazing fast !!!

  3. A. Azeez Abubakr says:

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

  4. Jon Hanford says:

    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!

  5. Steve says:

    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.

  6. Joe says:

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

  7. Bill F says:

    So much for any early warning…

  8. Salacious B. Crumb says:

    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.

  9. Silver Thread says:

    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.

  10. Max says:

    “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.

  11. marc says:

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

  12. Nexus says:

    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.

  13. techqc says:

    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 so lucky to remember that in their cave-drawings.

    It was true up until the world became a nuke-crazed frak-party. These days the frak-fest is waiting only for a trigger event, and one of these little bitty rocks could start the show before anyone had the chance to determine just what had happened.

    Just imagine if something like that came down over New York City or Washington D.C. : there would be instant blame before anyone even had a chance to discuss any such thing as radar tracks.

    Worse yet if it hit somewhere in Israel, N Korea or Pakistan.

  14. Goran says:

    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.

  15. Feenixx says:

    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.

  16. Howard Toburen says:

    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….

  17. Howard Toburen says:

    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 about it. They could be under international control… just to ease the fears of those who would worry about their use for warlike purposes.

  18. Feenixx says:

    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……

  19. Jaska says:

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

  20. druidbloke says:

    >> 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.

  21. RUF says:

    Look at the bright side:

    It could hit Washington DC.

  22. Howard Toburen says:

    I too need to post a correction. The L4 & L5 points would be better for asteroid viewing. L1 is in the same line of sight with the sun that the earth is.

    I just read that NASA has made plans to use the STEREO satellites for asteroid watching. Great idea. And ESA’s Gaia satellite will continue the process… assuming it makes it up.

  23. Frank Glover says:

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

    May we take that to mean that dinosaurs were atheists…?

  24. Chris says:

    Druidbloke = Wally
    Don’t bring god into this. Or dead babies. We don’t want your foolish (non evidence based) opinions here,

  25. Tom says:

    Time to turn some of the things that we aim at each other and begin a global program to protect each other. Too bad warnings like this won’t do the trick. Not close enough I guess. What will it take? Are you listening Barack?

  26. Salacious B. Crumb says:

    Here is an interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald, with some of Rob McNaught, Siding Spring Observatory on this near miss that might be of some interest here.
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/science/asteroid-plays-chicken-with-earth-20090303-8nge.html

    Note: Sincere apologies for the blatant use of metric and SI units.

  27. RMS says:

    Should this have not made the news a few days earlier saying “Asteriod head towards Earth” when it was discovered? Why panic the public when something with the power of 1000 A-bombs is heading their way? Mass panic, run on banks, economic meltdown (forgot – already there), people pissing in their pants. I only hope that if the end is here that the goverment will tell us. Some of us would like time to prepare, even if the event is possible.

  28. Vanamonde says:

    RMS, I understand your feeling but what good would it do to have a couple days warning if an asteriod is going to hit somewhere on the Earth. We don’t know where, right? Inspite of you saw in a Hollywood movie, there is nothing we could do with two days notice. Why make 7 billion people panic?

  29. Glenn says:

    I had no idea that such a thing happened.

    Makes you think… How many other things are being covered up from you?

Comments are closed.