Comets and asteroids

9comet 41p Tuttle Giacobini Kresak

Spinning comet rapidly slowed down during close approach to Earth

Astronomers at Lowell Observatory observed comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak last spring and noticed that the speed of its rotation was quickly slowing down. A research team led by David Schleicher studied the comet while it was closer to the Earth than it has ever...

October 19, 2017

asteroid 2017 tf5

Asteroid 2017 TF5 flew past Earth at 0.73 LD, 4 days before discovery

A newly discovered asteroid designated 2017 TF5 flew past Earth at 0.73 LD (~280 320 km / 174 182 miles) at 07:40 UTC on October 10, 2017, 4 days before it was discovered. This is the 36th known asteroid to flyby Earth within 1 lunar distance since the start of the...

October 16, 2017

asteroid 2012 tc4 by mike olason on october 10 2017

Asteroid 2012 TC4 to flyby Earth at 0.13 LD on October 12

Asteroid 2012 TC4, discovered in 2012 by PanSTARRS-1, will fly past our planet at a very close distance of 0.13 LD (~50 100 km / 31 140 miles) at 05:40 UTC on October 12, 2017. Current estimates suggest it should peak around mag +12.8 at closest approach and be...

October 11, 2017

kreutz sungrazing comet september 27 2017

New, bright Kreutz sungrazing comet plunges into Sun

A new, bright Kreutz 'sungrazing' comet was discovered on September 26, 2017. The comet appeared in SOHO LASCO C3 imagery around 03:06 UTC on September 26 and finished its journey around 09:00 UTC on September 27. It was recorded by both LASCO C3 and C2...

September 29, 2017

comet k2 2017

Comet K2 'The Record-Breaker' - farthest active inbound comet ever seen

Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the farthest active inbound comet ever seen, at a whopping distance of 2.4 billion km (1.5 billion miles) from the Sun (beyond Saturn's orbit). The comet is record-breaking because it is already becoming active under the...

September 29, 2017

osiris rex captured on september 20 2017 photo

OSIRIS-REx slingshots past Earth toward Asteroid Bennu

OSIRIS-REx, NASA’s asteroid sample return spacecraft successfully used Earth’s gravity on Friday, September 22, 2017 to slingshot itself on a path toward the Asteroid Bennu, for a rendezvous next August. The spacecraft came within 17 237 km (10 711...

September 24, 2017

large distant comets more common than thought

Large, distant comets more common than previously thought

Comets that take more than 200 years to make one revolution around the Sun are notoriously difficult to study. Because they spend most of their time far from our area of the solar system, many "long-period comets" will never approach the Sun in a...

July 26, 2017

comet 41p tuttle giacobini kresak makes closest flyby since discovery

Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák makes closest flyby since discovery

Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák will make a close approach to our planet on April 1, 2017, passing at a safe distance of 0.142 AU / 55.4 LD. This will be its closest flyby of Earth since its discovery in 1858. 41P/Tuttle–Giacobini–Kresák...

March 30, 2017

comet encke on soho lasco c3 image at 10 30 march 11 2017

Comet Encke swings around the Sun as seen by solar observatory

For the past couple of days, Comet 2P/Encke is visible through the eyes of ESA/NASA solar observatory SOHO as it swings around the Sun. The comet made its closest approach to the Sun - perihelion - at 02:11 UTC on March 10, 2017. Encke is a periodic comet that...

March 13, 2017

sungrazing comet taking a plunge into the sun

Bright sungrazing comet taking a plunge into the Sun

A new, bright sungrazing comet appeared in SOHO LASCO C3 imagery around 17:40 UTC on March 2, 2017 and his death dive is still visible today, available to be tracked almost in real-time. The comet will hopefully appear in LASCO C2 imagery before it vaporizes. ...

March 03, 2017

Comet 45P Honda Mrkos Pajdusakova

Comet 45P to flyby Earth on February 11, 2017

After more than 5 years, Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, also known as the Green Comet, will make another close approach to Earth. It can be seen using small telescopes, but 45P has lost its tail after it passed the perihelion (closest approach to the Sun)....

February 08, 2017

the OSIRIS REx spacecraft searching for Earth Trojan asteroids

Search party for Earth-Trojans starts in February 2017

The University of Arizona-led OSIRIS-REx mission will utilize the data collected during its two-year long mission to the Bennu asteroid in an attempt to search for elusive Earth-Trojan asteroids. Trojan asteroids accompany the planets during their journey around the...

December 21, 2016

dawn spacecraft asteroid vesta f

Water on asteroid Psyche baffles astronomers

Scientists today are expressing their astonishment over the detection of water-deposits on an asteroid that is thought to be pure metal. The asteroid is called 16 Psyche, and it’s believed to be on of the ten most-massive asteroids in the asteroid belt. Psyche...

November 30, 2016

comet_332p_ikeya murakami_fragments_hubble_f

Close-up look at disintegrating Comet 332P/Ikeya-Murakami

Hubble Space Telescope has captured one of the sharpest, most detailed observations of a comet breaking apart, which occurred 108 million km (67 million miles) from Earth. Hubble took the images over a three-day span in January 2016 and revealed 25 building-size...

September 16, 2016

near Earth_asteroid_2016_QA2_at_0 55z_on_28aug2016_f_credit_Virtual_Telescope_Project

Asteroid 2016 QA2 makes exceptionally close Earth flyby hours after discovery

Asteroid 2016 QA2 made an exceptionally close flyby of our planet at 01:24 UTC on August 28, 2016, just hours after it was discovered. Its estimated size is 34 meters (111.5 feet), between 16 and 52 meters (52 - 170 feet). This is about twice as big as the asteroid...

August 29, 2016


Bright Kreutz sungrazer plunges into the Sun

A new Kreutz family sungrazing comet appeared in SOHO's LASCO C3 coronagraph imagery around 00:40 UTC on August 2, 2016. The comet made its closest approach to the Sun around 05:15 UTC on August 4, becoming one of SOHO's top 10 brightest sungrazers. Its...

August 04, 2016

2016_HO3_new_quasi satellite_orbital_f

Newly discovered asteroid 2016 HO3 is Earth's new quasi-satellite

Pan-STARRS 1 asteroid survey telescope on Haleakala, Hawaii has discovered Earth's new quasi-satellite. Designated as 2016 HO3, this newly discovered near-Earth object has been our planet's constant companion for almost a century. The asteroid is too...

June 16, 2016