Asteroid 2004 XP14 on the march

The asteroid was moving so fast that it created a trail in the telescopic star field during just a 4-second exposure.

On July 3rd an 800-meter (half-mile) asteroid called 2004 XP14 flew past Earth at a distance a little greater than that of the Moon. It brightened to magnitude 11 as it crept rapidly across the northern sky.

One amateur waiting with telescope and camera was Johnny Horne of Fayetteville, North Carolina. He took a series of 4-second exposures with a Meade DSI II Pro camera on a Celestron 11 telescope at f/4 as the asteroid passed through the constellation Cassiopeia, moving from lower right to upper left. He combined a series of his pictures into a 1.9-megabyte QuickTime movie showing the asteroid's motion.


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