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This morning, the husband and wife observing team of Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre forwarded to Astronomy an image and an animation of the asteroid 2008 TC3 they received from amateur astronomer friends in Italy. Imelda runs an image service company and is a contributor to Astronomy magazine.
The International Astronomical Union named asteroid 6282 "Edwelda" after Imelda and Edwin.
"Here's a sequence of photos and animation of 2008 TC3 taken by our astronomer friends in Italy," Imelda writes. "They're among the first (if not the first) amateur images of the object."
UPDATE: Watch the video of October 6 asteroid 2008 TC3.
Thanks, you two!!
We hope to post more images, videos, and accounts as they come in.
it would be nice if the calculations were off a bit, and we could see this in Israel (about 1800 miles nearly due south)
This and three other sequences, including an animation, are at Spaceweather.com this morning. There is also a report there of possible confirmation of the atmospheric impact from an airliner crew.
I find it remarkable that within just a few hours of first detection so many imagers could nail this object with ccd-equipped telescopes as small as 350mm aperture. Great work!
I would be interested in knowing the estimated mass and diameter, so if anyone finds a link to that please post it ...
Here's diameter information from yesterday's release:
"The object, designated 2008 TC3, is only 3 to 15 feet (1 to 5 meters) across"
i would really like to see actual video of this asteroid entering the atmosphere. It would be a sight to see!
I understand the asteroid burns up in the atmosphere. But does it not produce a shower of meteorites ? Granted the odds are remote, but has one never in the past been responsible for damaging an airliner ? If they strike ground rather than the sea-bed, what chance of tracing them and recovery ? Are asteroids of one type only or does their composition vary greatly ?
Not all asteroids (technically, meteoroids — pieces of asteroids) produce a shower of meteorites. For a meteoroid entering Earth’s atmosphere to create such a shower, it would have to have a non-solid composition. Then, the shock of striking the atmosphere, plus the great heat generated, would break it apart.
No airliner ever has been damaged by a meteorite. Such an event isn’t impossible, just improbable. It’s a numbers game. Not that many meteorites per year have the right composition to survive their fiery plunge through the atmosphere. The few (several hundred to perhaps a thousand) that do travel fast. And, although lots of planes are in the air at any given moment, their profiles cover a tiny percentage of the sky.
Many meteorites have been recovered. Most are iron meteorites found either in improbable locations (a farmer’s field with no iron rocks nearby) or with the help of a metal detector. Some recovered meteorites have been “witnessed falls.” This is just what it sounds like ... someone sees a rock hit the ground or an object, walks over, and picks up a meteorite.
Meteorites do originate from asteroids. Iron meteorites come from the metallic cores, stony meteorites were once part of an asteroid’s outer crust, and stony-iron meteorites come from underground regions near the core where rock mixed with metal.