Astronomers revealed that an asteroid as massive as the Great Pyramid of Giza will be making its close approach to Earth on Thursday, December 15. To capture the best view of our Christmas visitor, the European Space Agency (ESA) has issued a challenge to skywatchers to spot the asteroid. The Christmas asteroid named 2015 RN35 will make a close approach of 430,000 miles (686,000 kilometers) to Earth at 3:12 a.m. EST (0812 am GMT). This is about twice the distance between the Earth and the moon.
The European Space Agency (ESA) encourages skywatchers to share their observations on social media by attaching the hashtag #ESAChristmasAsteroid to their posts. As a skywatcher, you are encouraged to include additional information about yourself and the exact location where you spot the flying Christmas asteroid. This challenge will officially commence in the early morning hours of December 15 at 3:12 a.m. EST (0812 am GMT).
Even though the asteroid will be flying across Earth at an estimated speed of about 13,500 mph (21,700 km/h), it will remain visible until Monday (Dec. 19). So, you have enough time to capture the best view of 2015 RN35 and possibly win the asteroid challenge.
How To Capture 2015 RN35 Asteroid from your Location
The 2015 RN35 asteroid has a magnitude of about 14. This implies that it will appear as bright as Pluto as it makes its approach across Earth. Hence, you don’t need a sophisticated telescope to spot the asteroid. However, with telescopes that fall within the range of 11.8 inches (30 centimeters) and larger, you should be able to spot the 2015 RN35 asteroid and capture the best view of it.
As a skywatcher, you should position your telescopes in good viewing conditions where light pollution won’t interfere to capture the best view of the asteroid. You will need to position your telescope in a region with clear and dark skies for the best observations.
What You Should Know About the 2015 RN35 Christmas asteroid
2015 RN35 asteroid was first discovered in 2015. Astronomers studied the asteroid closely and estimated its size to fall between 200 to 460 feet (60 and 140 meters). It takes the Pyramid of Giza-sized asteroid about 654 days to orbit around the sun. Astronomers are still hoping to learn more about the 2015 RN35 asteroid with time. The ESA’s challenge will enable skywatchers across the world to capture the best view of the asteroid using their ground-based telescopes.
The European Space Agency recently released a toolkit that allows users to study the orbits of Near-Earth Objects around the Sun and also analyze their close approaches to Earth. With the high-performing features of this toolkit, space lovers can learn how scientists analyze mid-sized near-earth asteroids such as the 2015 RN35. This asteroid does not pose the risk of colliding with Earth for the next 100 years.
However, scientists can use its close flyby to earth to learn more about other Potentially Hazardous Objects (PHOs) orbiting around Earth. Asteroids like the 2015 RN35 is not regarded as planet-killing asteroid. However, if it eventually struck Earth, it could cause great havoc in the region of impact. You can use this great telescope to capture the best view of the 2015 RN35 Christmas asteroid.
2015 RN35 asteroid close flyby to Earth will not impact Earth. However, you can spot the Christmas asteroid if you have a telescope that falls within the range of 11.8 inches (30 centimeters) and larger. You can share your pictures using the hashtag provided by the ESA. This close flyby should also remind us of the need to establish a planetary defense against asteroids in the near future using sophisticated technologies. What do you think about this challenge?