A Big Asteroid Comes Close Jan. 26th — and Mysterious “Sand Dunes” and “Goosebumps” On Comet 67P?

–  “At present, we know almost nothing about asteroid 2004 BL86, so there are bound to be surprises.”

- Lance Benner, Ph.D., NASA Radar Astronomer

– “The circular 'goosebumps' (on Comet 67P) look very, very bizarre. To be frank, we don't know how those things were created. We have no clue.”

- Nicholas Thomas, Ph.D., Prof. of Experimental Physics, Switzerland's Univ. of Bern

 

January 26, 2015 Albuquerque, New Mexico - On Monday, January 26, 2015, at 11:19 AM EST, a large asteroid about one-third of a mile wide will zip past Earth some 750,000 miles (1.2 million km) away. The Goldstone Deep Space Network near Barstow, California, will track the asteroid. At that time, the asteroid should be close to the Beehive Cluster and with a powerful pair of binoculars, you might be able to see it. See sky map.

This diagram shows the close passage of 2004 BL86 on January 26, 2015, with  closest approach occurring at about 16:19 UTC, or about 11:19 AM EST.  The view is nearly edge-on to the Earth's orbit. The Moon's nearly circular orbit is highly foreshortened from this viewpoint. The asteroid moves from the south to the north, from below the Earth's orbit to above. The roughly 500-meter (1500-foot)  asteroid approaches to within 1.2 million kilometers (750,000 miles) of Earth, or about  3.1 times the distance of the Moon. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
This diagram shows the close passage of 2004 BL86 on January 26, 2015, with closest approach occurring at about 16:19 UTC, or about 11:19 AM EST. The view is nearly edge-on to the Earth's orbit. The Moon's nearly circular orbit is highly foreshortened from this viewpoint. The asteroid moves from the south to the north, from below the Earth's orbit to above. The roughly 500-meter (1500-foot) asteroid approaches to within 1.2 million kilometers (750,000 miles) of Earth, or about 3.1 times the distance of the Moon. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

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