International Asteroid Detection and Tracking Network Prepares for Close Flyby
Asteroid 2012TC4 appears as a dot at the center of this composite of 37 individual 50-sec exposures obtained with the FORS2 instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The individual images have been shifted to compensate for the motion of the asteroid so that the background stars and galaxies appear as bright trails. Credit: ESO/ESA/O. Hainaut (ESO), M. Micheli (ESA), D. Koschny (ESA), CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
Over 50 astronomers expressed interest in the international campaign led by NASA, and almost a dozen observatories have provided observations of the object. The goal of the campaign is to get data with the widest variety of instruments, observational techniques, and wavelengths to gather the entire amount of information that can be collected from the ground on such an object.
“We can determine the trajectory of the asteroid to an extremely accurate level, and also the size of the object, its rotational period and orientation, its density, thermal properties, composition, surface structure, and more. All this information provides a complete characterization of the object’s properties, including all the information that would have been essential to understand impact effects and plan mitigation procedures on the ground in case the object had been in an actual impact trajectory,” said Micheli.
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