Look to the skies!

Asteroid 2007 TU24

This estimated 250m-wide irregularly-shaped tumbling beauty, Asteroid 2007 TU24 as fuzzily pictured above, was only discovered on Oct. 11, 2007. It will miss Earth.. but it will also pass within 1.5 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon – It’s the closest approach by a known asteroid of this size or larger until 2027. What will hit, though, is a man-made object. A large U.S. spy satellite – estimated to weigh 20,000lbs [9 metric tonnes] and to be the size of a small bus and which might have lost power over a year ago – can no longer make a controlled re-entry and is expected to crash to Earth some time late next month or in March. As the reports say

“We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause,” said Gordon Johndroe, who speaks for the US National Security Council. Questioned by The Associated Press, he would not be drawn on whether the US would try to destroy the satellite, perhaps with a missile. An unnamed official quoted by AP said the US government was keeping lawmakers and other countries abreast of the situation.

ANYhoo.. back to Asteroid 2007 TU24..Photobucket

If you have a medium sized telescope, with apertures of at least 7.6 centimeters (three inches) and dark and clear skies, you could try looking for it when it reaches an approximate apparent magnitude 10.3 on Jan. 29-30 before quickly becoming fainter as it moves farther from Earth..