The new hype in our community: 2010AL30, a 10-60m asteroid will be passing at 1/3 the distance Earth-Moon on Jan 13. Interestingly because its period is 1 year, like Earth, it was suggested that it could be a man made object.

Image of asteroid 2010 AL30 taken at 2010 Jan 12 at 15h 46m UTC. The asteroid is the dot near the center of the image. Image is a stack of 5 x 4-sec exposures using a 35cm SCT. CCD was binned to give a 2" pixel size to give greater sensitivity, and to be consistent with asteroid motion - which was 0.56"/sec at the image time. Image courtesy D. Herald
Image of asteroid 2010 AL30 taken at 2010 Jan 12 at 15h 46m UTC by D. Herald. The asteroid is the dot near the center of the image. see link for details

As mentioned by my colleague Alan Harris on the MPML list ” its orbit doesn’t resemble any useful spacecraft trajectory, and its encounter velocity with the Earth is not unusually low, around 9.5 km/sec “v_infinity”. Perfectly ordinary Earth-crossing orbit.”

Interestingly shortly after the announcement of the discovery which was made from LINEAR observations (MPEC 2010-A59 issued on Jan 11 at 15:43), several amateur and professional astronomers around the world observed this target to help refining its orbit. Based on these astrometric positions (positions in the sky reported by these observers), two groups one based at Harvard University (MPEC) and one in Italy (NEODys) refined the orbit of the asteroid. They confirmed that the semi-major axis is very close to 1 but the eccentricity significantly high (e~0.3).

Lance Benner, astronomer at JPL, also mentioned that they will schedule time at Goldstone for radar observations of this interesting target early on January 13. Using the refined orbit, they should be able to point accurately the antenna toward this target. It will definitely help revealing its true nature. Is this a man made object, a unique asteroid, a binary one? Make your bets!

Interestingly this kind of study illustrates the efficiency of our impact alarm system. 2010AL30 was detected 2 days before its close approach to Earth. If it was an Earth impactor, it would have been enough to warn the inhabitants of this area of our planet. This is particularly true since because of its relatively small (~10-60m) size, it will most likely blow up in the upper atmosphere, so only small fragments will reach the surface.

So don’t forget to make your bet in the comments. In my case I am all for a binary asteroid 🙂 surprising no?

Clear sky


Comments (4)

  1. A large invasion fleet would be wise to stand off (probably hiding in the high radioactivity emitted by Jupiter)and send a small ship or ships to reconnoiter. In addition to tomorrow morning’s flyby another body, possibly bodies will pass us over the next two days. They will transmit their observations back to the fleet who will use it to determine the best time and planetary coordinates to launch an invasion. If there is something you’ve been thinking about doing in your life, I’d suggest getting after it. Man’s days of freedom may well be coming to an end.

  2. This news leaves me a tinge of concern, as regards the appearance of that asteroid so suddenly, makes us see that soon may come a asteroid as the 2010 crash with AL30 and our world. No doubt we are as our Lord Jesus Christ at the end of time …

    Franck regards from Caracas – Venezuela and pardon my English

    Angel …

  3. While spinning like a top in the central location of earths trajectory, objects can be misleading in the path associated with there accent into the earths atmosphere. This Astoria is not directed towards any evolutionary trajectory with the atmosphere and terrestrial realm called earth, but in fact Astoria commonly break apart when entering into a cosmic ray of gamma rays and expelled solar gasses, in excess of 142°C or an increase of temperature by 2 – 3 KeV while revolving around a solar body. Since Astoria and meteorites have an excess of mineral and HCO2 – HCO3, deposits such as these hold a soot like property, that which when exposed to a high rate of temperature these materials are easily broken apart and fragmented and become solar expelled exo-planetary atmospheres.

  4. Holla! A great superb blog you have got right here!

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