Friday 5 February 2010

2010 January notes: 2010 AL30, 2010 AF40, 2010 BC, 2010 BU2 and 2010 BG5

A few relatively bright, newly discovered Near Earth Asteroids were followed during the month but the most newsworthy object 2010 AL30 passed just 0.33 Lunar Distances (LD) from Earth on 13th Jan. with the UK unfortunately shrouded in cloud. It was well observed from many other locations around the world and was last reported from Reedy Creek Observatory in Australia at 11:00UT on the 13th, less than 2 hours before closest approach and moving at 840"/min!

Less dramatic, 2010 AF40 had been discovered from Mt Lemmon on 12th Jan. and was followed from Great Shefford on the 17th and 19th. On the last date it was 16th mag., moving at about 40"/min and about 5 LD from Earth. It was last reported later on the 19th from the Sormano Observatory in Italy, going unobserved when it passed Earth at 2.3 LD about 35 hours later.

A Catalina discovery 2010 BC was followed on 16 and 17th Jan. at 17th mag. but it approached to within 8 LD by 24 Jan, maintaining 15th mag. for 4 nights, unfortunately during another cloudy period in the south of the UK.

More luck was had with the LINEAR discovery 2010 BU2, observed on three nights at the end of the month when it passed at 6.5 LD, reaching 16th mag. but with interference from the full Moon. Another LINEAR find, 2010 BG5 was moving almost due north at discovery on 25 Jan. and had already reached a dec. of +72°. It passed less than 4° from the North Pole on 28th and I picked it up in the early evening of 29th and 30th Jan, by which time it was moving at 40"/min. heading almost due south towards the northern horizon. It was at 6.6 LD and within a day of closest approach, but with the phase angle 95° and increasing it was fading fast at 19th mag.