Friday, September 22, 2017

Spacecraft Buzzes Earth En Route to Hazardous Asteroid

Source - Space Weather News for Sept. 21, 2017:

SPACECRAFT BUZZES EARTH EN ROUTE TO ASTEROID: NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is going to fly past Earth on Sept. 22nd only 10,711 miles away. The daring maneuver will slingshot the probe toward Bennu, a large asteroid that could threaten our planet in the next century. OSIRIS-REx is going to take a closer look at this potentially hazardous space rock and, if all goes as planned, return samples of it to Earth. At closest approach, the spacecraft could become bright enough for advanced amateur astronomers to photograph using backyard telescopes.

Observing tips and more information are highlighted on today's edition of

Above: The ground track of OSIRIS-REx's Sept. 22nd flyby. During the hours around closest approach, the spacecraft should shine with as much reflected sunlight as a 9th to 11th magnitude star.

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