LCOGT Cerro Tololo telescope capture close-passing asteroid

A Near Earth Object (NEO), an asteroid which can come close to the Earth, which has been designated 2004 BL86, passed safely past the Earth on January 26 at a distance about three times the distance of Earth to the moon. Less than 11 hours later, one of the LCOGT 1-meter telescopes at Cerro Tololo in Chile was used by Tim Lister to track and image the high speed rock. At the time, the NEO was a little more than 1.3 million kilometers from the Earth and travelling at a speed that meant it would cross the diameter of the Full Moon in less than 15 minutes. The animation consists of a series of 2 second exposure images taken through a broad w-band filter with LCOGT's Sinistro CCD camera. The LCOGT NEO Program has been tracking this and other NEOs in order to provide important position and brightness updates to enable the risk from these objects to be understood and to determine the rotation rate, shape and learn more about these objects and their place in the Solar System.

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