Asteroid to sweep between moon and Earth tonight: How to watch online

Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Rome said he just managed to capture an image of a small asteroid – labeled 2019 UB8 – coming very close on October 29, at about half the moon’s distance. Details here.

Diagram showing orbit of Earth with orbit of 2019 UB8 crossing it.

View larger. | The Virtual Telescope Project in Rome will show you asteroid 2019 UB8 as it sweeps closest to Earth – between us and the moon’s orbit – on the night of October 28, 2019, beginning at 8:30 p.m. EDT (00:30 UTC; translate UTC to your time).

The near-Earth asteroid 2019 UB8 will have a safe, very close encounter with our planet, coming at about 120,000 miles (190.000 km) from us – half of the average distance of the moon – tonight (October 28-29, 2019), according to clocks in Europe, Africa and the Americas. This 14- to 31-foot large asteroid (4.3 to 9.5 meters) will reach its minimum distance (120,000 miles or 190.000 km) from us on October 29, 2019, at 06:30 UTC; that is 2:30 a.m. EDT on the morning of October 29; translate UTC to your time.

We at the Virtual Telescope Project in Rome will show it to you live around its flyby time, beginning at 8:30 p.m. EDT on October 28 (00:30 UTC on October 29; translate UTC to your time).

Of course, there are no risks at all for our planet.

Click here to see the asteroid 2019 UB8 encounter

We also managed to capture its image last night. The image below comes from the average of three 500-second exposures, remotely taken with “Elena” (PlaneWave 17?+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at Virtual Telescope. The telescope tracked the apparent motion of the asteroid. This is why stars show as small trails, while the asteroid looks like a faint, sharp dot of light in the center of the image, marked by an arrow.

Straight white streaks on a gray background with an arrow pointing at a white dot.

The asteroid is marked by an arrow at the center of this image, taken October 27, 2019, via the Virtual Telescope Project.

The image above is quite exceptional, considering how faint (being small, see below) and fast-moving this rock is.

At the imaging time, asteroid 2019 UB8 was at about 1.3 million km (808,000 miles) from the Earth and it was on its way, approaching us.

Bottom line: A small asteroid – 2019 UB8 – will come very close to Earth on October 29, 2019. It’ll sweep safely past at about half the moon’s distance. Details here.

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Click here to see the asteroid 2019 UB8 encounter beginning at 8:30 p.m. EDT on October 28 (00:30 UTC on October 29)

Gianluca Masi