Happy Asteroid Day everyone, and let’s be glad we’re not dinosaurs! On its second year, Asteroid Day has increased the number of events and projects going on worldwide, all with a simple goal in mind: educating people to the potential danger of near-Earth objects (NEOs).
To keep up with the celebration, Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) has launched a website that allows people to track two nearby asteroids, 2002 KL6 and 2010 NY65, which will be relatively close to our planet today.
2002 KL6 is a 1.1-kilometer-wide (0.7 miles) asteroid that orbits the Sun every 3.5 years. Currently, it’s getting nearer to our planet – its close approach on July 22 will take it to 10 million kilometers (6.3 million miles) away.
2010 NY65, on the other hand, is much smaller at about 0.24 kilometers (0.15 miles) across. It orbits the Sun in slightly less than a year, and on its closest approach on June 24, it was 4.1 kilometers (2.5 million miles) from Earth.
By entering your email address, the network will use one of its 18 robotic telescopes to take a picture of one of the two objects. It will then add this picture to a time-lapse video in order to track where and how the objects are moving across the sky.
“We chose 2 asteroids which we wanted to study further, that would be passing close to Earth around Asteroid Day,” said Dr Sarah Greenstreet, a post-doctoral fellow on the LCO NEO team, in a statement. “By combining observations made by the public with some of our own, we hope to learn about how fast they are rotating and what their surface is made from.”
More information about Asteroid Day can be found here.
Time-lapse made from 75 images of asteroid 2002 KL6. LCO