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Emily LakdawallaOctober 6, 2008

Simulation of the final moments of 2008 TC3

Here's a neat animation of the view from boulder-sized asteroid 2008 TC3 as it makes its final approach to Earth tonight. A point I didn't appreciate when I wrote my first post on this is that the asteroid actually enters Earth's shadow at 01:50 UTC, which will make it invisible from the ground. The animation also makes it clear that the asteroid's ground track will indeed bring it in from the west of Sudan, over Chad and Niger, fairly far from populated areas. But surely somebody will be out there to see the show!

A reader reminded me to check the weather in Sudan -- will the skies be clear? It looks like they will be.

And here's another bit of fun -- if you are not an amateur astronomer set up to do fancy positional or light curve observations, you can still watch the Minor Planet Center, where observations from around the world are rolling in as fast as they can be posted.

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Emily Lakdawalla

Solar System Specialist for The Planetary Society
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