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Watch asteroid Pallas’s close brush with star Eta Boötis near Arcturus on 10 April

4 Apr 2019, 14:07 UTC
Watch asteroid Pallas’s close brush with star Eta Boötis near Arcturus on 10 April
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Magnitude +7.9 asteroid 2 Pallas is currently an easy binocular target, cruising through the southwestern corner of the constellation Boötes (the Herdsman) less than the span of a fist at arm’s length to the west of unmistakable Arcturus, the northern celestial hemisphere’s brightest star. You can find Arcturus high in the southeast around local midnight in the UK and Western Europe. The red circle represents the field of view of typical 8× binoculars. Pallas is at opposition on 10 April and passes just 1.7 arcminutes northeast of magnitude +2.7 star eta (η) Boötis at 22h UT (11pm BST) the same day. For the interval shown, Pallas is moving at a rate of &frac13 degree per day relative to the background stars. AN graphic by Ade Ashford.On Wednesday, 10 April, asteroid 2 Pallas reaches opposition in the constellation of Boötes the Herdsman. This fascinating asteroid, which is likely a remnant protoplanet, is therefore at its brightest and lies closest to Earth for 2019, some 1.6 astronomical units or 239 million kilometres from Earth. As seen from the centre of the British Isles, Pallas currently attains a maximum altitude of 54 degrees above the southern horizon around 2am BST, ensuring that it ...

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