Asteroid 2005 YU55 to shoot by the Earth closer than the Moon on Wednesday 9 November 2011. Where and when can it be seen from Australia?

Asteroid 2005 YU55 to shoot by the Earth closer than the Moon on Wednesday 9 November 2011. Where and when can it be seen from Australia?

Published by Nick Lomb on June 2, 2011 85 Comments

Track of YU55 on night of 9 November 2011

The position of asteroid 2005 YU55 at 9 pm AEST on 9 November 2011 as seen from Sydney with an indication of its track with respect to the stars and the Moon until dawn the next morning. Image and copyright Nick Lomb ©, all rights reserved

On the morning of Wednesday 9 November 2011 a 400-metre wide piece of space rock designated as 2005 YU55 will hurtle past the Earth at a distance that is 85 per cent of the distance of the Moon. Of course, that distance provides a sufficiently wide margin of safety that we do not need to have any concerns about our safety. Still it is of considerable interest as the only other pass we know about by an asteroid at a similar or closer distance will not occur until 2028.

As can be deduced from the designation of the asteroid, it was discovered in 2005. The discovery was made through the Spacewatch program near Tuscon, Arizona. The size of the object is known as it has been observed with radar with the Aricebo radio telescope on a previous approach. The radar showed that the asteroid was nearly spherical and spinning around its axis roughly every 20 hours. From its distance, brightness and size, scientists have found that 2005 YU55 is a very dark object that reflects only a small fraction of the sunlight falling on it.

2005_YU55_approach_movie_frame_0017 as first seen from Australia

The position of asteroid 2005 YU55 with respect to the Earth and the Moon at approximately the time when it first becomes viewable from Australia. Movie frame 17 from a JPL/NASA animation of the close approach on 9 November 2011

Closest approach is at 10:28 am AEDT on 9 November 2011 when the distance of the asteroid is 85 per cent of the distance from the Earth to the Moon. Obviously, at that time it is daylight in Australia and it is not possible to see the object by visual means. In the vicinity of Sydney it becomes dark from about 8:30 pm AEST onwards and that is when it becomes possible to view the object.

Unfortunately, it will not be easy to find it in the sky. As it is such a dark body, its brightness is expected to be less than 11th magnitude or more than 100 times too faint to be seen with the unaided eye from a dark spot in the country. A reasonably large telescope and a good knowledge of the sky, including the RA and declination coordinate system, will be needed to find it. What makes seeing it even more difficult is that its path is near the gibbous Moon that will be brightening the sky that night.

Interesting radar observations can be expected from the near Earth passage of the asteroid. Seeing it through a telescope from Australia though will be challenging even for experienced amateur astonomers at good locations.

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85 Responses to “Asteroid 2005 YU55 to shoot by the Earth closer than the Moon on Wednesday 9 November 2011. Where and when can it be seen from Australia?”

  1. November 09, 2011 at 5:50 pm, Ismell said:

    better put the umbrellas up tonight if the asteroid hits us

    Reply

  2. November 09, 2011 at 11:02 am, Pjharris123 said:

    Why do people keep saying the asteroid is flying between the earth and moon where as on the NASA site it says over????

    Reply

  3. November 09, 2011 at 10:24 am, Tcalexander said:

    Most of science is truth mixed up with made up theory,  so similar to religion in that respect. 75% of science relating to the cosmos is explained by dark energy, dark matter, dark flow etc The word dark can be replaced with “made up”. Lets just look up to the sky in awe of its beauty and mystery.

    Reply

  4. November 09, 2011 at 9:20 am, Thestumpmizer said:

    how does bringing peace stop the earth from being hit????? we need to turn to more science and no religion to help us solve this problem, but if you want to burry your head in the sand and turn to religion then go right ahead do what your BOOK tells you to do but my books will halp to fix this problen and more, not cause all the problems as welll as throwing all the governments out and starting with young fresh faces who wont cover up the tech that is needed to protect and help us.That is the only way we will surrive.

    Reply

  5. November 08, 2011 at 11:49 pm, Cebu785 said:

    It’s amazing how something like this can end humanity and there is really nothing we can do about it.  End of the world NASA thinks is about 2036.  We have 25 years to do the right thing on this planet and that’s to bring peace. :-)

    Reply

  6. November 08, 2011 at 10:44 pm, Chezz said:

    i can see the asteroid its next to the moon its like a bright star

    Reply

    • November 09, 2011 at 12:56 am, derpy said:

      That’s probably Jupiter. This asteroid is not bright at all, jupiter is the brightest ‘star’ in the sky right now.

      Reply

  7. November 08, 2011 at 9:47 pm, Jimmy said:

    Was there a prediction about an asteroid hitting Earth saying that while we are destracted watching one asteroid, another asteroid we don’t see hits us and ends life as we know it?

    Reply

  8. November 08, 2011 at 9:02 pm, Logan6 said:

    Cloud cover is natures blindfold. Do you really want to see the firing squad?

    Reply

  9. November 08, 2011 at 6:57 pm, Merc_s500 said:

    A Car beep’t the horns in front of my place & since it is cloudy today & cant see anything ,i said to everone here ,Quick run the Asteorid is passing “Beep Beep” , i’m still cracking up because everyone ran outside and look’t up in the sky ,lol.
    So it must be true that Blondes are really d****m ,lol.

    Reply

  10. November 08, 2011 at 6:09 pm, Peter Smith said:

    So can it affect any orbiting satellites? What distance in relation to the earth/moon are our furthest satellites?

    Reply

    • November 08, 2011 at 6:14 pm, Peter Smith said:

      Actually found the answer – 34000km high earth orbitting satellites.
      384000km – moon. So within 10% of the moon orbit probably covers most earth orbiting satellites. So this would answer dodge’s question too.

      Reply

  11. November 08, 2011 at 2:35 pm, dodge said:

    What about all the junk we have floating around up there,is there anything that could crash into it and knock it on to a collision course with the earth or moon???

    Reply

    • November 08, 2011 at 7:27 pm, spacecadet said:

      25000 tons doing warp speed colloiding with a few kilos of space junk? I think it may take more than that to change it’s trajectory. Maybe something the size of Starship Enterprise would do it.

      Reply

  12. November 08, 2011 at 1:55 pm, Kerry_casey2003 said:

    also loved when they asked the scientist….who he has to call, if it decides to head for us????…..GHOSTBUSTERS!!!

    Reply

  13. November 08, 2011 at 1:53 pm, Kerry_casey2003 said:

    do we really want to be standing outside watching something that could put our lights out????….

    Reply

  14. November 08, 2011 at 10:11 am, Seb. said:

    Do we need to call Bruce Willis for this? 

    Reply

  15. November 08, 2011 at 8:10 am, Anonymous said:

    Has anyone noticed on Google Sky the large X next to the Moon??

    Reply

    • November 08, 2011 at 1:36 pm, Pjharris123 said:

      yeh strange wonder what its for????

      Reply

      • November 08, 2011 at 1:57 pm, Pjharris123 said:

        GOOGLE: 
        11133.kml - NASA click view on google earth 

        Reply

        • November 08, 2011 at 2:05 pm, Pjharris123 said:

          actually click on link 11133.kml - NASA and it will download a link click on that and it should take you there. wonder what they are for??? strange! Anyway back on with yu55 :)

          Reply

  16. November 08, 2011 at 1:46 am, Logan6 said:

    No you won’t be able to see 2005YU55 without the right equipment. Yes it is 400m. No it is not on the eliptic, thus presenting negligible threat to Earth. 2004 MN4 “Apophis” is returning in 2029 and is 270m. Apophis may by deviated by Earth’s gravitaional pull which could cause issues on it’s further return in 2036. Good Night and Good Luck.

    Reply

    • November 08, 2011 at 1:52 am, Logan6 said:

      Disclaimer:- Some details may be wrong.

      Reply

  17. November 08, 2011 at 1:31 am, Markzuc said:

    get the Yahhoo, sky and star Map for Android ,it should give you an indication of where to Look once you activate GPS

    Reply

  18. November 07, 2011 at 10:42 pm, Rnand1 said:

    Faint warning for us humans that the big one is out there heading for earth. That will be the reset button for mother earth. But for many of us it won’t be this life time…….

    Reply

  19. November 07, 2011 at 8:38 pm, Mccoy Wayne said:

    Well, I gotta say…I love this stuff…but am really disappointed to learn that we won’t be able to see it as clearly as Channel 7 incorrectly reported (idiots).  As Dans says, how about giving used the coordinates so we might have a chance and at least face the right direction.

    Reply

  20. November 07, 2011 at 8:05 pm, Dans said:

    So you say this ” A reasonably large telescope and a good knowledge of the sky, including
    the RA and declination coordinate system, will be needed to find it.” Well how the hell do we get these coordinates if you dont tell us where it will be in the sky at what time etc. Pathetic report for the Sydney Observatory. It almost smacks of talking down to us who could hope to see it if we knew where/when.

    Reply

    • November 08, 2011 at 9:48 am, Nick Lomb said:

      Hello Dans. The diagram above gives the general direction indicating where to look. For your information the coordinates at two times are

      At 9:00 pm AEDT
      RA 0h 24m 44s Dec +20° 0′ 43″
      Azimuth (east of north) 19.0° elevation 33.8°
      Predicted magnitude 11.4

      At 10:00 pm AEDT
      RA 0h 34m 01s Dec +19° 57′ 50″
      Azimuth (east of north) 4.7° elevation 36.0°
      Predicted magnitude 11.5
       

      Reply

      • November 09, 2011 at 11:38 am, Dans said:

        Mate thanks for that. I saw the diagram at the top however no real reference to scale. Also it seemed a bit too simplified. Maybe I was looking too deep. But again thank you

        Reply

  21. November 07, 2011 at 7:30 pm, ER said:

    “What makes seeing it even more difficult is that its path is near the gibbous Moon that will be brighting the sky that night.”    Ha! Who wrote that? A schoolkid? Here’s the correction for ‘brighting’… BRIGHTENING! Standards are pretty low in journalism when made up words are used instead of correct English. LOL!

    Reply

    • November 08, 2011 at 9:35 am, Nick Lomb said:

      Hello ER. Thank you for pointing out the typo, which has now been corrected.

      Reply

  22. November 07, 2011 at 6:16 pm, Jayden said:

    If it hits were dead from a massive tsunami >:)

    Reply

  23. November 07, 2011 at 4:59 pm, Raz said:

    So we can’t see it with our own shitty telescopes, it’ll be daytime when it passes, hmm, anyone know how to hack the Hubble telescope? NASA isnt using it much these days.

    Reply

  24. November 07, 2011 at 2:28 pm, parra64 said:

    space rocks pass us evryday its the one that slams into earth and ends what we call life so until that happens we just live our shitty life as usual

    Reply

  25. November 07, 2011 at 1:12 pm, Ebeard9010 said:

    Well,if nothing else it is food for thought.Sooner or later it will be  the last dawning of our earth.Nothing lasts forever.Maybe we as a planet need to understand we are all connected,regardless of race,creed or color.

    Reply

  26. November 07, 2011 at 12:50 pm, zazz blammymatazz said:

    is there any way to catch this thing and keep it here? for study and shit

    Reply

    • November 07, 2011 at 2:24 pm, Trekkin_70 said:

      are u serious or your just a dumb blon’de

      Reply

  27. November 07, 2011 at 11:16 am, Phil said:

    I don’t know why a lot of people start worrying about something like this, it’s been happening for millions of years. There are thousands of “near Earth” astoroids out there. This will be similar to a bus been driven through Newcastle, between Brisbane and Sydney.

    Reply

  28. November 07, 2011 at 10:31 am, Bigoldjase said:

    It’s not 400m its 200m.
    Report with accurately please.

    Source: spaceweather.com

    Reply

    • November 07, 2011 at 12:17 pm, Nick Lomb said:

      Hello Bigoldjase. Spaceweather.com like every reputable source reports the asteroid as 400-metre wide. We know its diameter from radar observations at its previous pass.

      Reply

    • November 07, 2011 at 5:37 pm, Natss13 said:

      The link you suggested “spaceweather.com” also says its 400m….  So what are u talking about???

      Reply

  29. November 07, 2011 at 10:27 am, Iam said:

    after making several calculations (please don’t ask how i came to know this) i can tell you that the astroid is made up of more than what has been revealed. Think about this for a moment, If you grab two apposing magnetic fields more powerful than any man made capabilities, you create an invisible & and unpredictable ever shifting gravity effect i.e- the Moon’s effect on our oceans…
    The Astroid in question holds a magnetic field so powerful (due to the velocity of its traveling speed) that ‘will’ react as it passes between the two magnetic fields that we know as “Earth & Moon”
    Depending on the tra- jectory and velocity of its travel it “could” react to the Moon’s magnetic field and slightly swing into a course even closer to the Earth, causing simultaneous Global effects, including swinging into a direct collision.
    The “Matter” in which the Astroid is fully composed of is the only way to know whether this Wednesday or any day in the future, the Astroid will threaten Earth.

    Reply

  30. November 07, 2011 at 10:05 am, Nyabiliny said:

    These are the prophacies, watch out and be alert for the world is going away, I wish I see it as it moves.

    Reply

  31. November 07, 2011 at 8:12 am, Martian241 said:

    steve s sucked in i made my scope 34years ago  10 inch   im going to see it haha   if sky is clear   at ourimbah  n.s.w

    Reply

  32. November 07, 2011 at 8:06 am, Lynne said:

    Many thanks for the info …. fascinating!

    Reply

  33. November 06, 2011 at 11:43 pm, BooYah said:

    NASA is a pack of str8 up wankers,

    How is there “no boss” when it comes to this sorta stuff.

    As if the world wouldn’t work together on this.. (if it was a threat)

    Reply

  34. November 06, 2011 at 11:41 pm, Churbro said:

    What’s Bear Gryll’s answer for this one ?

    Reply

  35. November 06, 2011 at 11:27 pm, Thingirl said:

    It might just bang into the moon instead of us. It is closer to the moon isn’t it?????

    Reply

  36. November 06, 2011 at 11:24 pm, Jtimms1 said:

    can we train it to hit the ACT

    Reply

  37. November 06, 2011 at 10:44 pm, 54yelnats said:

    Where’s Bruce Willis when you need him?

    Reply

  38. November 06, 2011 at 10:34 pm, Guy who won't bother said:

    Thank you channel 7, for telling me to go to your website for details on how to see the asteroid. The link that brought me here didn’t work for the first half hour as every man and his dog was clicking it frantically at the same time. When I finally get here it turns out it’s only 100 times too dim to be seen with the naked eye anyway. Great. Unless of course you happen to own a $5000 telescope, have a degree in astronomy and some magical way to blot out the moon. Thanks for that.

    Reply

  39. November 06, 2011 at 9:07 pm, Darkman01 said:

    Do you think the zoom on my iPhone 3 will suffice?

    Reply

    • November 07, 2011 at 12:47 am, Nathan M said:

      Yeah, I think you’ll need the iPhone 4 or above to get that close. If you get an iPhone 4S before Wednesday, maybe you could ask Siri to show you exactly where 2005 YU55 is???

      Reply

  40. November 06, 2011 at 8:59 pm, Bear59 said:

    at what time is it going to be visable and would i be able to see it through my 6 inch  telescope

    Reply

  41. November 06, 2011 at 8:56 pm, wes said:

    will we see it in darwin?

    Reply

    • November 07, 2011 at 2:22 pm, Silv said:

      No. It’s an asteroid, not a UFO

      Reply

  42. November 06, 2011 at 8:50 pm, Mrs Fletch said:

    well it sucks us SA people wont be able to see it

    Reply

  43. November 06, 2011 at 8:33 pm, Sallymf55 said:

    I am assuming it will be daylight when it passes us here in Emerald, Central Queensland? 

    Reply

  44. November 06, 2011 at 8:16 pm, Vickibarry said:

    Wow!!!  I am in far North QLD – Cardwell, Will we be able to see it as there is NO artificial light here to distort the show 

    Reply

  45. November 06, 2011 at 8:11 pm, Steventaylor6 said:

    Spewin we cant see it better :(

    Reply

  46. November 06, 2011 at 8:06 pm, debra said:

    thank goodness for this news we carn’t run and hide or leave this planet so we can stress, spend our money,and enjoy life till the end

    Reply

  47. November 06, 2011 at 8:04 pm, Keith said:

    and how likely is it that this may even affect the moon . and did they park the space station to the left that day. telephones , weather and other satellites?  seems like we wont see much of it cause its too dark 
    what a shame 

    Reply

  48. November 06, 2011 at 7:59 pm, Damo said:

    I”m NOT PANICING!!!!!!

    Reply

  49. November 06, 2011 at 7:58 pm, Badgirl Kelly79 said:

    will south Australians see it if so what time? 

    Reply

  50. November 06, 2011 at 7:57 pm, Jacob Haskell said:

    So where can we see it over South Australia, Adelaide????

    Reply

  51. November 06, 2011 at 7:51 pm, Keith said:

    hi guys is there any debris field traveling with this thing . how big and how fast?  west   east the make up of this rock is ?

    keith tassie 

    Reply

  52. November 06, 2011 at 7:37 pm, Brett Chapple said:

    so if this thing hits us has our government done anthing in the way of helping us i do doubt it save their own neck first they would

    Reply

    • November 06, 2011 at 10:50 pm, 54yelnats said:

      if it hits us our government could put us on leaking boats and send us to Indonesia.

      Reply

      • November 06, 2011 at 10:57 pm, kah said:

        lol

        Reply

  53. November 06, 2011 at 7:37 pm, Fragger said:

    im goona die noooooooooooooooooooooo

    Reply

  54. November 05, 2011 at 10:39 am, frab said:

    fran here i live in bundaberg qld what time will it be over head and will i be able to see it
     

    Reply

    • November 06, 2011 at 11:37 pm, Ssidunno said:

      Fran, I too live here in bundaberg and from my understanding theres not a hope in hell that we gonna see anything. Go to the local observatory on goodwood road, they will likely have good telescopes and may possibly be doing a public opening for a fee. Cheers, Lee

      Reply

      • November 07, 2011 at 10:54 am, Adnil49 said:

        Hi Ssidunno & Fran I live in Elliott Heads where on Goodwood Rd is the observatory and is it my understanding that if and only if it hits earth it will be in 2028 if I am right I have no reason too orry cos on my calculations I probably will not be here anyway LOL not funny really but at least I think I know where I will be going and also if it hits earth do they know where in the world it will hit

        Reply

        • November 07, 2011 at 4:26 pm, Mac said:

          hello guys,,,I am the director of Alloway Observatory on Goodwood Road…The observatory will not be open to the public..sorry to burst anyones bubble but i think it will be a no show….The average person is looking for a WOW…chances are it will be a GEE ! i THINK THAT MIGHT BE IT….regards Mac Jonsen

          Reply

  55. October 12, 2011 at 4:59 am, Darrell said:

    Please, present your own calculations as to yu55′s deviation due to Earth’s gravity. I’m sure your capable. All NASA seams to shows are solar center of mass based calculations. 

    Reply

  56. October 09, 2011 at 2:30 am, Bo said:

    Sooo, is it 9PM AEST? or 1028AM AEDT? I wonder if the cows will stop milking? 

    Reply

    • November 07, 2011 at 7:39 am, Meljorgeau said:

      yeah they will, cos they want to see the no show too LOL

      Reply

  57. September 14, 2011 at 2:37 am, Tracywench said:

    Ellie, In refernce to FEMA? What do ypu mean? Please elaborate? Seams it’s a little difficult to get specifics for some reason as to the 3 min. you refer to?
    Thank you.

    Reply

  58. July 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm, ellie said:

    i THINK IT IS INTERESTING THAT FEMA (AMERICAN) IS TAKING OVER ALL BROADCASTING FOR 3 MINS IN THAT COUNTRY.

    Reply

  59. June 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm, Mg-tiger said:

    Do you know if the asteroid’s path will be affected by earth and will this move it closer to the moon?

    Reply

    • June 15, 2011 at 1:58 am, Anonymous said:

      Hello Mg-tiger. Yes, the Earth will slightly deflect the path of the asteroid, but that deflection has been included in the calculations of its present and future path.

      Reply

    • July 17, 2011 at 11:51 am, Garlcott said:

      my thought exactly – the trajectory predictions I have found show no deviation of course due to earth’s gravitational field. Like something calculated by a primary school student.
      A 2-3 degree deviation would at least be expected, and a deviation in the vicinity of 20 degrees would put it on a possible colision course with the moon.
      If it’s course is altered, where does it go from here?

      Reply

  60. June 05, 2011 at 6:50 am, Greg said:

    I have a 150mm reflector telescope and live in Bundaberg Queensland  would i be able to see yu55 if so could you send me information on were to look to bear59@mail.com  

    Reply

    • June 07, 2011 at 1:06 am, Anonymous said:

      Hello Greg. You will need to use the setting circles on your telescope to try to find the object. Ensure that the setting circles on your telescope are carefully aligned first though. Use the Horizons website http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi to work out the coordinates for your location in advance. And as I note in the post it will be a challenging observation due to the vicinity of the gibbous Moon. Good luck.

      Reply

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