Image of the Month - August 2002

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 2002 NT7

Asteroid 2002 NT7, discovered on July 9 by the LINEAR program, made it into the headlines soon after its discovery because it seemed possible that it might impact Earth in 2019. However, observations by Erich Meyer at the Davidschlag Observatory on July 28 and 29, 2002, removed all impact possibilities for 2019. Remote chances that the asteroid might strike Earth in 2044 or later still remained, but these events are so unlikely that the asteroid was rated with zero on the Torino Scale. By the end of July 2002, additional observations by astronomers around the world have removed all possibities for impacts - at least for the next century.

Asteroid 2002 NT7
Credit & Copyright: Erich Meyer, Davidschlag Observatory, Austria

Asteroid 2002 NT7, imaged on July 29, 2002, by Erich Meyer at the Davidschlag Observatory, Austria. Astrometrica was used to stack eight single exposures (each of 60 seconds, taken with a SBIG ST-6 CCD in the prime focus of a 0.6m f/3.3 reflector) to increase the Signal to Noise Ratio of the faint asteroid on the images, which were taken in bright moonlight. When stacking the images, the software compensated for the motion of the asteroid, resulting in trailed stars. 2002 NT7 is the faint point-source in the center of the image.

Related Links:

  • Story by Sky and Telescope
  • Article in New Scientist
  • 2002 NT7 Object Homepage (NEODys)
  • 2002 NT7 Orbit Animation (JPL)
  • Risk Page (NEODys)
  • Risk Page (JPL)

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