2016 HO3

Earth Has A New Little Buddy, Quasi-Satellite 2016 HO3

And you thought the moon was Earth’s only companion. Now we know of another, but unlike the moon, this one orbits the sun but sticks close to us. Astronomers using the Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Mt. Haleakala in Maui, Hawaii, spotted a new asteroid on April 27 this year. Named 2016 HO3, its size has yet to be…
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Asteroid 2016 LT1 Flyby Today, Honeysuckle Moon Tonight

Today around 3 p.m. (CDT), an asteroid a little bigger but a lot faster than a Chevy Suburban will make a drive-by of Earth, missing the planet by just 95,000 miles (153,000 km) before speeding off into the cosmic depths. Although that’s less than half the moon’s distance away, the encounter is a safe one. At…
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A few more images of the pellet-shaped 2003 SD220 from Arecibo Observatory. Some online reports are suggesting the asteroid could cause earthquakes. Asteroids can't and don't do this, unless a large one happens to hit Earth. This will pass over 6 million miles from us. No worries. Credit: NASA/NSF

Auroral Alert Tonight Dec. 18-19 / Holiday Asteroid Parade

Keep watch on the northern sky tonight. Several recent solar blasts are working their way toward Earth as you read this. Expect the bee-like swarm of subatomic particles to buzz past the planet and possibly link into out magnetic domain by late afternoon. Minor (G1) storming is expected during the early evening hours over the U.S.…
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Geminid2009_ Wally Pacholka with permission crop

Geminid Meteors Dazzle For The Holidays

Forget about Internet deals, 20% off and 2 for the price of 1. I need some commercial-free enjoyment. You too?  Lucky us. This weekend the annual Geminid meteor shower should put on a splendid show with up to 120 meteors visible per hour from a dark sky site. 100 years ago, the Geminid shower was a modest affair with 20-30…
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Earth and moon photographed by Hayabusa 2 on its inbound leg on November 26, 2015.  Credit: JAXA

Hayabusa-2 Spacecraft Buzzes Earth Tonight En Route To Ryugu

Japan’s Hayabusa-2 spacecraft, on a mission to asteroid 162173 Ryugu, will swing fantastically close to Earth tonight, passing only 6,300 miles (10,100 km) from the surface. It’s getting a free boost from our planet’s gravity to help send it on its way to the asteroid belt. The gravity assist technique has been widely used to send…
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