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Updated Charts for Asteroid 2004 BL86 Earth Flyby on Jan 26, 2015

Paul Chodas & Jon Giorgini
NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office
January 22, 2015
Updated January 25, 2015 to add Sky & Telescope Sky charts (thanks Kelly Beatty!)

Diagram showing the close passage of 2004 BL86 on January 26, 2015

This diagram shows the close passage of 2004 BL86 on January 26, 2015. The view is nearly edge-on to the Earth's orbit; the Moon's nearly circular orbit is highly foreshortened from this viewpoint. The asteroid moves from the south to the north, from below the Earth's orbit to above. The indicated times are Universal Time. Closest approach occurs at about 16:19 UTC, or about 11:19 EST. The roughly 500-meter (1500-foot) asteroid approaches to within 1.2 million kilometers (750,000 miles) of Earth, or about 3.1 times the distance of the Moon.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Equatorial Star Chart

The track of asteroid 2004 BL86 as viewed from the Earth, plotted on a star chart with an equatorial coordinate grid. The asteroid location is shown at four-hour intervals from January 26 to 28. The indicated times are Universal Time; subtract 5 hours for Eastern Standard Time (EST), 6 hours for CST, and 8 hours for PST. On January 26, the asteroid will pass within 11 degrees of Jupiter, now shining brightly in the east in the evening sky.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. JPL orbit solution #43, with star chart graphics produced using C2A.


Horizon Star Chart

This view shows the two-day track of 2004 BL86 relative to a local horizon at 9 pm in the evening, as seen from locations in the contiguous United States. On the evening of January 26, the asteroid will pass near a brightly shining Jupiter in the eastern sky, about 11 degrees higher relative to the eastern horizon. Cardinal directions are given along the bottom. The times given on the asteroid track are in Universal Time; subtract 5 hours to obtain Eastern Standard Time (EST), 6 hours for CST, 8 hours for PST.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. JPL orbit solution #43, with star chart graphics produced using C2A.


Sky & Telescope Star Chart

The path of asteroid 2004 BL86 on January 26-27 carries it northward among the winter stars and makes it well positioned for viewing with a backyard telescope. Eastern Standard Time is shown, so be sure to make a time-zone correction for your location.
Image Credit: Sky & Telescope


Sky & Telescope Star Chart

Almost exactly when it becomes brightest (about 9th magnitude), asteroid 2004 BL86 skirts very close to the Beehive Cluster, M44. The faintest stars in this chart are magnitude 9.2, and the dashed circle is 1½° across. Tick marks along the path are given in Universal Time. Click on the image for a larger version of this chart, or download this black-and-white version optimized for use outside with a telescope.
Image Credit: Sky & Telescope


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