Massive asteroid passing Earth overnight to be visible with binoculars

As if this month’s eclipse wasn’t enough, the universe is being kind enough to entertain us with another celestial event that could have actually been a lot more disastrous.

Asteroid Florence, measuring 2.7 miles, will fly so close to our planet on Friday at 8:06 a.m., we’ll be able to see it through binoculars.

The Palm Beach Post reports Florence will still be 4.4 million miles away when it zips by, but still close enough to possibly see.

Those looking to get a glimpse of the asteroid should look about 19 degrees above the southern horizon 

Florence should be “fairly bright” and trackable for about 5 to 10 minutes as it makes its closest approach to the planet since 1890.

By the way, when we say “zips,” we mean it. Florence will be traveling at a smooth 30,266 miles per hour.

Check out Sky and Telescope for detailed charts on where to look in the sky to see the asteroid.

@SkyandTelescope NEA 3122 Florence tonight. 14, 20 sec. images taken each minute, 1:03-1:20 UT, 300mm Canon T3i, ISO 1600, stacked. pic.twitter.com/W4OySuSApF

— Brad Timerson (@btimerson) August 31, 2017

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Massive asteroid passing Earth to be visible with binoculars

As if Monday’s eclipse wasn’t enough, the universe is being kind enough to entertain us with another celestial event that could have actually been a lot more disastrous.

Asteroid Florence, measuring 2.7 miles, will fly so close to our planet on Sept. 1 at 8:06 a.m., we’ll be able to see it through binoculars.

The Palm Beach Post reports Florence will still be 4.4 million miles away when it zips by, but still close enough to possibly see.

Those looking to get a glimpse of the asteroid should look about 19 degrees above the southern horizon 

Florence should be “fairly bright” and trackable for about 5 to 10 minutes as it makes its closest approach to the planet since 1890.

By the way, when we say “zips,” we mean it. Florence will be traveling at a smooth 30,266 miles per hour.

 

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Thrift shop bargain hunters find rare NASA flight suits

Talia Rappa and Skyer Ashworth turned summer bargain shopping at a Titusville thrift store closeout into the stuff of NASA collectors’ legend when the central Florida college students paid 20 cents each for five rare NASA flight suits that experts say could be valued at $5,000 each or more.

“They were kind of in a weird corner,” Rappa told WKMG. “He (Skylar) pulled them all out at first, then brought the whole handful over to me.”

The five blue NASA flight suits, along with a white “control suit,” were in the bottom of a plastic bin tucked under some forgotten winter sweaters.

According to experts at the American Space Museum, the astronauts’ names and flight dates on the white labels seem to match the time astronauts George “Pinky” Nelson, PhD, Robert A. Parker, PhD, and Charles D. Walker, a payload specialist, flew shuttle missions between 1983 and 1985.

At first, experts thought Nelson’s flight suit, a 38 small, was worn by Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, but further investigation showed Nelson didn’t fly a shuttle mission until 1986.

Rappa, a junior studying astrophysics at the University of Central Florida, told WKMG she has always been fascinated with space travel and would love to be part of the MARS mission.

When the 20-year-old looked at the suits close up, she admits her “jaw dropped.”

Ashworth, 24, who was recently accepted into a college aerospace program at Eastern Florida State College, told WKMG the space program is in his family’s DNA.

“My parents worked NASA communications with the shuttle program,” he said, “and my grandfather even worked communications with the shuttle.”

“It just blows my mind,” Ashworth said. “It (the bin holding the suits) was under two other big totes. I moved them off to the side and I’m digging through a whole bunch of sweaters and stuff, and I found the white one with the patch just kind of laying there.”

Chuck Jeffrey, a member of the board the American Space Museum in Titusville, and an avid NASA collector, purchased the fifth flight suit worn by STS-9 Astronaut Dr. Owen Garriot. Garriot, an amateur ham radio operator, is known as the first man in space to communicate via ham radio with people across the globe while aboard the Columbia STS-9.

The students plan to offer the suits at a special auction conducted by the American Space Museum.

TheA tentative date for the auction has been set for Nov. 4.

Some of the proceeds will be donated to the museum, while the other funds will be used for Rappa and Ashworth’s college tuition.

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Perseid meteor shower ‘warm-up act’ for this month’s eclipse

Consider this weekend’s Perseid meteor shower an opening act for the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

Astronomers are projecting a slightly higher than normal rate of 150 meteors per hour across North America. But the bright moon will wash out the finer Perseids. So the viewing rate will be more like 30 to 40 meteors an hour. Peak viewing will be Friday night, early Saturday, Saturday night and early Sunday.

The real cosmic show will be the total solar eclipse – the first to cross the U.S. coast to coast in 99 years.

NASA’s meteor expert, Bill Cooke, says the Perseids “can be the warm-up act.”

Last year’s Perseids excelled with 200 meteors an hour.

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Asteroid to fly (relatively) close to Earth this weekend

The end of life as we know it is not near, but it will come awfully close, relatively speaking, on Saturday.

An asteroid measuring just over 754 feet will speed past Earth this weekend, although citizens of the planet will be blissfully unaware.

The Sun reports Asteroid 441987 (2010 NY65) will travel 7.9 lunar distances from our planetary home. Sounds close, but it’s actually 1,864,113 miles away in non science-speak.

Although tiny compared to what else is flying around outer space, if the asteroid were to hit Earth, it would do so with a force 300 times greater than the Hiroshima bomb.

If you miss seeing Asteroid 441987 (2010 NY65) during this weekend’s fly-by, don’t worry. The asteroid will make yearly approaches until 2022.

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