Just In: NASA’s Latest Image of Asteroid 2005 YU55


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.

Source: NASA

11 Replies to “Just In: NASA’s Latest Image of Asteroid 2005 YU55”

  1. Everyone keeps saying “aircraft carrier-sized asteroid”, when in reality it is LARGER than that. Let’s start calling it “oil tanker-sized asteroid” instead, which is more accurate 🙂

    Largest aircraft carrier: ~340m
    Oil tanker: 370m – 460m
    2005 YU55: ~400m

    (Yes, I’m feeling nit-picky!)

    –JL Galache

    1. Whenever an oil tanker is in the news it normally means an environmental disaster. Given that people are prone to panic when they hear an asteroid is passing so close to Earth, it might be ‘psychologically’ better to call it an aircraft carrier. I’m just saying…

  2. So much for the much ballyhooed “near sphericity” of this object. It may look more like Phobos, for example, when seen in a different orientation. I’d like to see a movie of this object in rotation to get a better sense of its’ true shape.

  3. that’s still pretty darn close. close enough to give me room to imagine one actually hitting us. in which case start the orgy.

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