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Moscow: Unusual space object approaches Earth

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posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 09:00 AM
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Somebody's keeping their eyes open...


2010 AL30: An Asteroid or Man Made Object?
news.discovery.com...
By Ian O'Neill | Tue Jan 12, 2010 03:31 AM ET
On Wednesday (Jan. 13), an object called 2010 AL30 will fly by Earth at a distance of 130,000 km (80,000 miles). That's only one-third of the way from here to the moon.
Astronomers will be able to observe it shining with a brightness of a 14th magnitude star as it dashes through the constellations of Orion, Taurus, and Pisces (further details about the orbit of 2010 AL30 can be found on NASA's Solar System Dynamics website).
This small object is cataloged as a 10 meter-wide asteroid and there's no chance it will impact Earth, but it does provide astronomers with an interesting opportunity.
What makes this near-Earth object (NEO) special is that it has an orbital period of almost exactly one year. This fact has led some scientists to speculate that 2010 AL30 could be a man made object and not an asteroid. After all, there's a lot of space junk up there, there's every possibility that it could be a spent rocket booster or some other spacecraft artifact.
But it could just be coincidence that the NEO has the same orbital period as Earth and that it's just another asteroid.
According to Alan W. Harris, Senior Research Scientist at the Space Science Institute, apart from 2010 AL30's coincidental orbital period, there is nothing else to suggest that it isn't a naturally occurring near-Earth asteroid.
"[2010 AL30 is] unlikely to be artificial, its orbit doesn't resemble any useful spacecraft trajectory, and its encounter velocity with the Earth is not unusually low," Harris said in The Minor Planet Mailing List. Harris also points out that 2010 AL30 has a "perfectly ordinary Earth-crossing orbit." In other words: it looks like any other near-Earth asteroid.
In reply, Andrea Boattini of the Catalina Sky Survey made the interesting point that 2010 AL30 is a great example of how much of a warning we'd have for an object of this size on an impact trajectory. After all, the discovery was only announced on Jan. 11, two days before its Earth encounter.
It is worth noting however, even if 2010 AL30 did hit Earth, it would most likely explode high in the atmosphere (with the energy of a small nuclear bomb), posing little danger to anyone on the ground. Impacts of this size occur on an annual basis.
The discovery of this 10 meter wide object is testament to the increasing capabilities of the international community of asteroid hunters. When 2010 AL30 does make its closest approach on Jan. 13, a more detailed look at this small visitor can be carried out, verifying whether it is indeed an asteroid or man made object. However, it would appear that the consensus is that it's a natural inhabitant of our solar system, passing safely through our neighborhood, providing asteroid hunters with an interesting target to study.
Sources: Spaceweather.com, Remanzacco Observatory

Unusual space object, possibly man-made, approaches Earth
en.rian.ru...
MOSCOW, January 12 13:30 (RIA Novosti)
An unusual space body with parameters similar to a man-made object will approach Earth on Wednesday at a distance about three times less than the moon's orbit.
The object, named 2010 AL30, will fly by Earth at a distance of at least 128,000 km (about 80,000 miles) at 12:48 GMT. As it is some 10-15 meters long, there is no chance it will directly impact the planet.
According to Italian scientists Ernesto Guido and Giovanni Sostero of the Remanzacco Observatory, it has an orbital period of almost exactly one year and might be a man-made object such as a spent rocket booster.
Alan Harris, senior researcher at the U.S. Space Science Institute said, however, the object had a "perfectly ordinary Earth-crossing orbit."
"Unlikely to be artificial, its orbit doesn't resemble any useful spacecraft trajectory, and its encounter velocity with Earth is not unusually low," he said.
Astronomers will be able to observe 2010 AL30 as a 14th magnitude star in the constellations of Orion, Taurus, and Pisces.




posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 09:18 AM
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Interesting, thank you very much for the information. 12:48 GMT is broad daylight here in europe, what are my chances to see this object pass ?



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 09:30 AM
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reply to post by JimOberg
 


Thanks for the heads up on the approaching UFO, Jimbo.

So, what are the chances of being able to tell whether it's man made or not?



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 09:33 AM
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A respect source, such as Discovery, is not going to randomly suggest potential man-made for no reason. However, it is likely an asteroid will be approaching (near Earth one, that is)



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 09:35 AM
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Originally posted by rhines
Interesting, thank you very much for the information. 12:48 GMT is broad daylight here in europe, what are my chances to see this object pass ?


Cool, that's 10 to 9 in the evening at my neck of the woods.

Might have to find some height though to see it.

Rhines, if it's still dark around noon you'll see it on the horizon I'd think - depends how far North into Europe you are.

Look out for the Dogstar (the brightest star, the North star, to the right of Orion's belt and you should see it if it's possible).

-m0r



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 09:46 AM
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reply to post by JimOberg
 



Astronomers will be able to observe it shining with a brightness of a 14th magnitude star


That's still quite dim and you'd need a decent sized telescope to see it, and you'd have to know exactly where to look. It's about as bright as Pluto, or rather as dim as Pluto. I'm guessing this is a near earth asteroid, and so not man-made.

[edit on 12-1-2010 by john124]



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 09:57 AM
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Thread already exist. www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 11:16 AM
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Originally posted by verylowfrequency
reply to post by JimOberg
 


Thanks for the heads up on the approaching UFO, Jimbo.

So, what are the chances of being able to tell whether it's man made or not?


It'll be a telescope object, not visible to the eyeball -- but maybe bright enough for spectral readings to see if the 'white' is a known paint brand.

Seriously.



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