Eddie Irizarry
Animation of the orbits of Earth and Apophis.

Astronomers update the impact risk from Asteroid Apophis

Astronomers in Hawaii have updated measurements of the Yarkovsky effect – a minuscule push imparted by sunlight – for asteroid Apophis. The effect is particularly important for Apophis, because it relates to the possibility of an Earth impact in 2068.

A black background showing the Earth-moon system, with 2020 SO looping around it twice.

Say goodbye to Earth’s mini-moon on February 1 and 2

In November, a new mini-moon began orbiting Earth. NASA later confirmed it’s a lost-and-found 60s-era rocket from the Surveyor 2 moon mission, launched more than 50 years ago. Now the object – SO 2020 – is coming close again for one last time. Here’s how to see it!

A very faint star field, with the comet, a tiny dot, within tick marks.

Newly found Comet Leonard might become 2021’s brightest

The first comet to be found in 2021 – labeled C/2021 A1 (Leonard) – might become the brightest comet of this year! Charts and more info here.

Simulated solar system orbits, showing the location of the Earth and the asteroid on January 6, 2021.

Biggest asteroid to pass Earth in 2021 also one of the fastest

On March 21, when asteroid 2001 FO32 sweeps past Earth, it’ll be moving at such a fast pace that observers using telescopes might be able to detect its motion – its drift in front of the stars – in real time.

Is that a UFO?! There’s probably an explanation

Most Unidentified Flying Objects aren’t actually unidentified. Here’s a list of phenomena, either natural or human-made, that people often mistake for UFOs.

Black-and-white radar image of 2 asteroids stuck together.

Astronomers reveal asteroid 2000 WO107 as a contact binary

Asteroid 2000 WO107 passed Earth safely on November 29, at 11 times the moon’s distance. Astronomers at Goldstone bounced radar signals from its surface and discovered it’s 2 asteroids that touched, and stuck.

Computer-generated asteroid orbit, in relationship to Earth.

This asteroid just skimmed Earth’s atmosphere

The asteroid – 2020 VT4 – is estimated to be between 16 and 36 feet (5-11 meters). It skimmed the top of our atmosphere on Friday, November 13, 2020. Astronomers spotted it one day later.

Comet C/2020 M3 (Atlas) is closest November 14

Discovered last June, Comet C/2020 M3 (Atlas) is closest to Earth – millions of miles away – on Saturday, November 14, 2020. It’s in an easy-to-find location, if you have a dark sky. Charts and photos here.

Watch online today: Small, close-passing asteroid

Watch online today as asteroid 2020 SW swoops in for its closest approach to Earth on Thursday. The asteroid will pass just 7% of the moon’s distance. Charts here for telescope users. How to watch online.

Asteroid 2011 ES4 will pass closest on September 1

The orbit of asteroid 2011 ES4 is still not entirely known. Our knowledge of it might improve sometime today – or early tomorrow – if it is “recovered” by astronomers. It’s expected to pass within the moon’s orbit, possibly as close as 0.19 lunar distances.