Eddie Irizarry
Centaur upper-stage rocket.

Observations confirm new mini-moon is 60s-era rocket booster

A mysterious object discovered in September is currently a new mini-moon for Earth. NASA confirmed on Tuesday, December 2, that the object is a lost-and-found 60s-era rocket from the Surveyor 2 moon mission, launched from Earth more than 50 years ago.

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.

Animation of the orbits of Earth and Apophis.

Infamous asteroid Apophis is accelerating

Astronomers in Hawaii have detected 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.

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.

Picture of damage to Arecibo Telescope in August, 2020.

Arecibo Observatory damaged by broken lashing cable

The new damage to Arecibo, caused by the heavy cable, happened while repairs from 2017’s Hurricane Maria were still ongoing.

How to see Comet NEOWISE

A few observers in the Southern Hemisphere are beginning to capture Comet NEOWISE, too. Charts here for seeing the comet in late July and early August.

Biggest asteroid to pass close (and undetected) this year

Asteroid 2020 LD passed within the moon’s distance on June 5, but wasn’t discovered until June 7. It’s the 45th known and the largest asteroid to sweep within a lunar-distance of Earth so far in 2020.