Object name: 2002AM31

Designation(s): 2002AM31,

(153958) 2002 AM31 is a NEO (Near Earth Asteroid) that got a lot of print a few days ago. It passed "close" to earth on July 22.99, 2012. That was daylight here and cloudy all night. The following night about 29 hours after closest approach it was only 1.2% further away or about 3,363,000 miles. Conditions still weren't great. I took 40 minutes of data of which the last 20 were usable though the first few frames were iffy and needed some work due to clouds. I made the 19 frames into a GIF animation each frame 1 minute long covering 20 minutes real time so you can see it is really moving. Each frame is one minute so the motion is 200 times actual speed. There are only 19 frames in the animation due to the time it takes my camera to download a frame adding the extra minute

Images were taken while the Paramount ME was tracking the predicted orbital path. There seems to be a slow drift north and I found it was not exactly where the elements I used (several days old) predicted. Likely due to changes in the orbit due to the close passage. Still, it tracked the asteroid well enough. I could have aligned the images but time was short so they were not aligned in any way. This is just the raw data from the camera using a one-quarter frame binned 3x3 using a simple linear histogram stretch. Only processing was dark subtraction. No flats were taken as not needed for such simple processing. Image scale would be 1.5" per pixel. Taken with my ordinary equipment, 14" LX200R @ f/10 and STL-11000XM. Each frame processed to about the same star and background intensity. Difficult due to rapidly changing conditions.

Slooh's coverage (40 minute video) of the "event" is at:

Or you can watch my <7 second video.

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