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.
Of course, there are no risks at all for our planet.
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.
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.
Gianluca Masi is an Italian astrophysicist and founder of the Virtual Telescope project (part of Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory), consisting in several robotic telescopes, remotely available in real-time over the Internet. Through this system, real-time, online observing sessions are performed, sharing the universe with the world. More than 1 million individuals each year observe the sky through the Virtual Telescope. Gian started his interest in astronomy at childhood, later becoming a professional astronomer, earning a PhD in astronomy in 2006. At the same time, he devoted a lot of efforts to science communication. The asteroid (21795) is named “Masi” in his honor.