Wednesday 7 May 2008

2008 April notes: 2008 GM2, 2008 GF1

After a good run of more than a week of clear nights in early April, the rest of the month brought rather poor weather, only a couple of nights in the month were were completely cloud free.

Two NEOs (both discovered during April with telescopes of the Catalina Sky Survey) came closer to Earth than the Moon, 2008 GM2 was discovered three days after its close pass, so had already receded to about 2.7 Lunar Distances (L.D.) before being picked up. I recorded it about 14 hours after discovery at about 3.3 L.D. but already it had slowed to a very sedate apparent speed of 6"/min.

The other was 2008 GF1, discovered on April 5th just over two days before closest approach and last caught from Great Shefford just before midnight, late on April 6th when it was moving at 70"/min and at mag +17.6, just over 2 L.D. away, about 12 hours before passing Earth at 0.8 L.D. Unfortunately, it was not picked up again, favourable locations for observing the fly-by being in central Asia, so both these NEOs went unobserved when at their closest.