The mysterious Christmas Asteroid came terrifyingly close to Earth on December 15. If you missed seeing it, then know that you still have a chance to spot.
A mysterious and massive 460-foot wide Christmas asteroid just buzzed Earth from terrifyingly close quarters. On December 15, Asteroid 2015 RN35, which was first discovered on September 9, 2015, and renamed as the Christmas asteroid by the European Space Agency (ESA) is said to have a massive diameter of anything between 196-to-460 feet. The most worrying part is that the asteroid came so close that it whizzed past the Earth at a distance of just 426000 miles. This is just a little bit farther than the Moon is to Earth. It is less than twice the distance between the moon and Earth, actually. As per NASA’s CNEOS data, the asteroid is travelling at a fiery speed of 21276 km per hour.
“Anyone else hear sleigh bells? Fantastic video of the #ESAChristmasAsteroid captured by @Rueffio as it passed over South Australia just a few hours after #CloseApproach! Keep the observations coming #Astronomy Twitter!” ESA Operations took to the Twitter to share information. Just like many other skywatchers, you can also spot this massive Asteroid in the sky. If you think that you have missed the chance, then that is not true! The best part is that you can snap this Christmas asteroid as it moves away from Earth till December 19. ESA shared how to spot this mysterious asteroid.
How to spot Christmas asteroid
ESA informed that sky-watchers in the Southern hemisphere will get the best view during the close approach of the asteroid. However, Europe too will get a chance over the following days until about 19 December. You should note that between December 15-17, asteroid 2015 RN35 will have a visual magnitude below 14 comparable to Pluto. To have a better look, you will need Telescopes, 30 cm and larger, to see the Christmas asteroid.
You can use ESA’s Asteroid Toolkit to help plan your observations, as well as visualize the orbits of individuals and groups of near-Earth asteroids and even any close Approach. Access the ESA’s Near-Earth object toolkit here.