January 27, 2023

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The first "star" will appear very early this year.  This is asteroid 2015 RN35

The first “star” will appear very early this year. This is asteroid 2015 RN35

The European Space Agency has announced a Christmas asteroid, which has been named 2015 RN35. The object is about 140 meters long and should appear near Earth on December 15th. This is when it will be visible from the southern hemisphere, while from a northern perspective – including Europe – the best view should be available four days later.

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Unfortunately, the asteroid itself is very mysterious. We only know its approximate dimensions, while other parameters, such as mounting, turned out to be indefinite. Even amateur telescopes should suffice for observations, but it may be impossible to spot the cosmic visitor with the naked eye. At some point, it should be about 686,000 kilometers from Earth’s surface.

For comparison, the distance between our planet and the Moon is about 385,000 km. However, there is no point in comparing the size of the Silver Globe to the 2015 RN35, which would be just a tiny blip next to our natural satellite. Interestingly, if you fail to observe this flyby, there will be another one, just three days after Christmas Eve. This time, the main character will be a different object, a 2010 XC15.

Asteroid 2015 RN35 will be better visible from Europe on December 19

Asteroids, also known as asteroids, can be up to 1,000 kilometers in diameter. In most cases, these objects revolve around the Sun and are gravitationally attached to our star. From time to time, celestial bodies from outside its borders enter the solar system.

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A striking example of this phenomenon is the famous ‘Oumuamua object, which some experts considered … a probe sent by aliens. Given the ability to break the gravitational leash of the Sun, such objects are very difficult to study, because by the time humanity has time to prepare a suitable probe, they are already out of reach.

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But can extrasolar bodies be more than just rocks, of which there are many near Earth? Avi Loeb is one of the biggest proponents of such a hypothesis – at least as far as ‘Oumuamua is concerned. However, the scientist from Harvard University is known for his controversial ideas, and sometimes it is easy to get the impression that this is his way of gaining publicity.