We Bet You Can’t Spot the Elusive “Christmas Asteroid”

The European Space Agency has a task for you: to find asteroid 2015 RN35. They call it the “Christmas Asteroid” and it is in view of most of the Earth from December 15 to 19 if you have a telescope and know where to look.

The space rock is roughly the size of the Pyramid of Giza and will be at its closest point to Earth at 3:12 AM ET today, moving at only 430,000 or so miles away from us (about twice the distance of our moon) . This is the maximum distance an object will approach the planet over the next decade.

How to see the Christmas asteroid

Unlike the Star of Bethlehem, which announced the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Christmas asteroid will not light up the sky. Even though it will fly close to us by asteroid standards, you will need a telescope of at least 11 inches to see it. To help you detect it (and other near-Earth objects), the European Space Agency’s Near-Earth Object Coordination Center (NEOCC) has released a set of free asteroid head tools that allow you to visualize the orbits of near-Earth objects. simulate their approaches and plan for when you can see and photograph them from anywhere in the world. For a quicker view of an object’s current location relative to your own location , visit the LiveSky page . You can enter your city and get all astronomical coordinates for 2015 RN35.

If you are not going to go to all these troubles, you can still see the asteroid online. The European Space Agency encourages amateur astronomers to take pictures of the Christmas Asteroid and post the photos on social media using the #ESAChristmasAsteroid hashtag.

Mystery and danger of asteroids like 2015 RN35

Although astronomers have drawn the approximate orbit of asteroid 2015 RN35 and are confident that it will not hit Earth in the near future, this is all we know. We don’t know what it’s made of, its exact orbit, how big it is, whether it’s spinning or if it’s actually a spaceship in disguise, and the Space Brothers are finally bringing us home.

The Christmas asteroid is one of hundreds of thousands of medium-sized space rocks that fly past us on a regular basis. Scientists know a lot about larger planet-killing objects, but smaller objects are not as well known. It is hoped that compiling them will help to know when and where they might collide with the Earth – even a small asteroid that fell on the planet can be destructive, even if it does not destroy all life.


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