Near Earth Asteroid 2005 YU55
November 15, 2011
Despite a suspect sky, with increasing clouds and moonlight, I managed to capture the Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) 2005 YU55 on Tuesday evening, November 8, 2011 from my observatories in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This was the closest asteroid to Earth in 35 years -- just 201,700 mi (324,605 km) distant. I had to "ambush" it; sit ahead of the predicted track and wait until it entered my telescope’s field of view (FOV) as it was running a few minutes ahead of the Jet Propulsion’s (JPL) published ephemeris schedule. My large diameter telescope was a godsend as was the assistance of my friend, Melchor. This NEA, having a diameter of about 1,300 ft (400 m) was moving fast and out of my FOV in only a minute and a half. The little diagonal line is Near Earth Asteroid 2005 YU55 passing between the Moon and the Earth.
Photo details: Taken with my homemade 16 inch telescope; QHY8 CCD camera; binned 2x2. These were 10 second exposures -- at 07:18 p.m. local time.