Photo of the Week for January 30, 2015
On Monday, January 26, 650-metre-wide asteroid 2004 BL86 buzzed by Earth, capturing the attention of the popular press and many backyard astronomers. Although not especially bright, the space rock did pass unusually close to our planet — roughly three times farther away than our Moon. It was so close that it moved rapidly across the sky as it passed near the open cluster M44 (also known as the Beehive) in Cancer.
Imaging at the RASC Winnipeg Centre Glenlea Observatory site south of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Bill Krosney captured 198 individual 30-second exposures with a Nikon D7000 DSLR camera set to ISO 1600 and equipped with a 180mm f/2.8 lens to create this video. Krosney’s movie compresses roughly 110 minutes of motion into a 19-second clip. The asteroid is the point of light that moves from the bottom of the frame upwards to the left of the open cluster. A thin band of clouds passes through the frame midway through.