Big Asteroid 2004 BL86 Buzzes Earth on January 26: How to See it in Your Telescope

Artist view of an asteroid passing Earth. On January 26th, beefy 2004 BL86 passes within 750,000 miles of our planet and will become bright enough to see in small telescopes and large binoculars. Credit: ESA/P.Carril

Artist view of an asteroid passing Earth. On January 26th, beefy 2004 BL86 passes within 3.1 times the distance of the Moon to our planet and become bright enough to see in small telescopes and large binoculars. Credit: ESA/P.Carril

A lot of asteroids pass near Earth every year. Many are the size of a house, make close flybys and zoom out of the headlines. 2004 BL86 is a bit different. On Monday evening January 26th, it will become the largest asteroid to pass closest to Earth until 2027 when 1999 AN10 will approach within one lunar distance.

Big is good. 2004 BL86 checks in at 2,230 feet (680-m) wide or nearly half a mile. Add up its significant size and relatively close approach – 745,000 miles (1.2 million km) – and something wonderful happens. This newsy space rock is expected to reach magnitude +9.0, bright enough to see in a 3-inch telescope or even large binoculars.(…)
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© Bob King for Universe Today, 2015. |
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