2003 NZ6 (A personal account of a brief encounter with an Aten)
|2003 NZ6 was discovered by LINEAR on 9th July 2003 and subsequently
turned out to be an Aten asteroid making a close approach to the Earth.
put on the NEOCP later that day and initially confirmed from Great Shefford.
During the following week and a half it was
followed by eight observatories as it swung inside the Earth's orbit and
eventually disappeared below the northern horizon travelling towards perihelion in late September at a distance of only 0.4 AU from the Sun.
2003 July 10 22:49 - 23:00 UT
3'x3' field, 10 x 10s exposures
|2003 NZ6 is not particularly special, there are many other NEOs in
similar and some in more unusual orbits, some approaching the Earth
closer, some appearing brighter and faster moving.
It happened to be
well placed and the skies were generally clear at Great Shefford during
this appearance and I was lucky enough to follow it from start to
finish - the following is a personal account
of this brief encounter...