3-mile-wide asteroid 4179 Toutatis to pass by Earth this 12-12-12, can be viewed online

By on Dec 12, 2012 in Astronomy, Science Comments

A 3-mile-wide asteroid (5 kilometers) is going to pass by Earth this Wednesday, December 12, 2012, (or 12-12-12), which researchers said can be viewed online via the free webcast video below. Astronomers called the huge rock as Asteroid 4179 Toutatis. It is now approaching our planet but will be too far to be dangerous.

3 mile wide asteroid 4179 Toutatis

Asteroid 4179 Toutatis, image taken on December
11, 2012 17:46 UT

Image Credit: Gianluca Masi/Francesca Nocentini/

As noted at Space.com, Slooh will webcast Toutatis views from a scope in the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa stating 3 p.m. EST on Tuesday, December 11, and another show will follow at 10 p.m. EST also this Tuesday, which will show footage from an instrument in Arizona, or at Slooh.com.

Slooh technical staff will let the public follow this fast-moving asteroid in two different ways. In one view, the background stars will be tracked at their own rate and the asteroid will appear as an obvious streak or a moving time-lapse dot across the starry field,” Astronomy Magazine columnist Bob Berman was quoted in a statement.

“In a second view, Toutatis itself will be tracked and held steady as a tiny pointlike object, while Earth’s spin makes the background stars whiz by as streaks. Both methods will make the asteroid’s speedy orbital motion obvious as it passes us in space.” Berman added, with the asteroid to pass within 4.3 million miles (7 million kilometers) away from Earth on its closest approach.

Berman will be joined by Slooh president Patrick Paolucci in giving comments while the 3-mile-wide asteroid is making its flyby above Earth. Scientists said that Asteroid Toutatis was first viewed in 1934, and was officially discovered in 1989. It is being noted to make a single one trip around the sun every four years.

Meanwhile, the Virtual Telescope Project, which is being run by Gianluca Masi of Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy, will also be monitoring the event on its official website, VirtualTelescope.eu via a webcast video on Thursday (Dec. 13) at 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT), along with complete commentaries from astrophysicists.

Asteroid 4179 Toutatis live webcast at Clay Center Observatory in Brookline, Massachusetts
Video Credit: Ustream

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