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NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, California has captured new radar images of Asteroid 2005 YU55 as it begins its close pass by Earth. The image above was taken on Nov. 7 at 11:45 a.m. PST (2:45 p.m. EST/1945 UTC), when the asteroid was approximately 1.38 million kilometers (860,000 miles) or about 3.6 lunar distances away from Earth. It’s not a great image, but there should be better images available as the asteroid gets closer. Several telescopes will be tracking of the aircraft carrier-sized asteroid throughout the pass. Goldstone’s 230-foot-wide (70-meter) antenna has been keeping an eye on it since Nov. 4, and the Arecibo Planetary Radar Facility in Puerto Rico will begin observations on Nov. 8, as the asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at 3:28 p.m. PST (6:28 p.m. EST/1128 UTC).
The Slooh telescope will be hosting a live webcast of the flyby on Nov. 8, 2011. Find out more at the Slooh Events page. Keep track of the latest images gathered by astronomers at the Asteroid and Comet Watch website.