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PHOTOS: 34-km-wide asteroid flies past earth

Last updated on: February 1, 2012 13:59 IST

34-km-wide asteroid flies past earth

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Thirty four-km-wide Eros, the second largest near-earth asteroid, had a fly by of earth and can now be seen in the constellations Leo, Sextans and Hydra.

Asteroid 433 Eros (1898 DQ), also known as Eros, came closer to earth at 4.30 pm on Tuesday evening, Planetary Society of India Director N Raghunandan Kumar said.

 

The Eros passed by earth at 26,729,000 km, about 70 times the distance to the Moon, with a visual magnitude of +8.6, he said.

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Image: Asteroid 433 Eros


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34-km-wide asteroid flies past earth

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Eros is an S-type asteroid, signifying a composition of magnesium silicates and iron.

 

Amateur astronomers can spot the object in the constellation of Sextants and Hydra till February 10 after 10 pm in the eastern sky.

 

The last time it was close to earth was 37 years ago in 1975, he said, adding the space rock will come close to the planet next in 2056.

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Image: Images of 433 Eros taken from the orbiting NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft: (a), scale bar, lower right, measures 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), crater Shoemaker as viewed from the south; (b), scale bar 1 kilometer, crater Psyche; (c), scale bar 200 meters, interior of crater Shoemaker; (d), scale bar 100 meters, large rock inside Psyche; (e), scale bar 50 meters, and (f), scale bar 100 meters, large rocks ejected from crater Shoemaker that were deposited in older craters; (g), scale bar 10 meters, and (h), scale bar 20 meters, the range of shapes of large rocks on Eros ---- from angular to falling apart.

Tags: , Eros , Hydra

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34-km-wide asteroid flies past earth

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The object orbits sun once in every 642.9 days (1.76 year) and rotates around itself every 5 hours 16 minutes, he said.

 

Discovered on August 13, 1898, by Gustav Witt in Berlin and Auguste Charlois at Nice, the space rock is named after the Greek god of love, Eros.

 

The largest asteroid is '1036 Ganymed'.

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Image: Image of Asteroid 433 Eros on January 30, 2012 dirakamkan menerusi 20-inch diameter telescope at the Observatory State of Langkawi


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