AstronomyCast

Astronomy Cast

Astronomy Cast takes a fact based journey through the cosmos as it offers listeners weekly discussions on astronomical topics ranging from planets to cosmology.

Close flyby of asteroid 1998 FW on September 29, 2009

This not so little sucker (approx. 400-600 meters) will encounter the earth at a distance of 8.63 LD (lunar distances) on September 29, 18:43 UT. It will be a radar target a Goldstone and Arecibo. Due to its highly eccentric orbit it is possibly an extinct comet belonging to the Jupiter-family.

PHA 1998FW4
We contributed astrometry on Aug. 23 and Sept. 9 to the MPC (MPEC 2009-R32). In the 30 minutes exposed image the asteroid shows up as a bright streak. During this time the object was clearly visible on a single 30 second exposure at mag. 17. It will brighten up to magnitude 14 and be an easy target for amateur telescopes. From September 19 - 30 1998FW4 is moving through the constellations Aquarius, Aquila and Ophiuchus accelerating rapidly. After September 30 it will be unobservable.