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Asteroid Gallery

2004 EL20 (very small Aten making close approach)

Put on the NEO Confirmation page at about 23:00 UT on 14 March 2004 as a mag 18.4 object moving at ovber 30"/minute, the initial prediction was already showing the possible area that the NEO might be found in to be over 2 in size.

Conditions that first night were poor at Great Shefford with cloud frequently interrupting exposures. The object could not be found in two separate search fields before clouds stopped further work. The next night was cloudy and the object but the object was confirmed on the NEOCP just after midnight, 16th March 2004.

Clear skies on the night of the 16th allowed the stack above to be obtained from Shefford, by which time the NEO was moving at 40"/minute, forcing exposures to be kept to just 6 seconds long, with multiple short exposures being combined to reveal the fast mover.

Astrometric positions were sent to the Minor Planet Centre at 21:34UT and the announcement Minor Planet Electronic Circular MPEC 2004-F12 was issued two hours later.

The JPL NEO Past Close Approach table shows that 2004 EL20 was at its closest to the Earth almost exactly when the image above was taken, at 20:16 UT +/- 1 minute on 16 March 2004 at 5.7 lunar distances away.


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