2010 AL30 – Latest info and more photos

January 13, 2010 12:54 by scibuff

Update 2: JPL Small Body Database has been updated with radar data for 2010 AL30.

Update 1: Bernhard Haeusler (B82 Maidbronn, Germany) posted an animation of the NEO asteroid 2010 AL30, 100 x 2s. exposure, taken on January 13 between 01:01 and  01:16 GMT (~13MB).

Today, at 12:46 GMT, the asteroid with temporary designations 2010 AL30, discovered on January 10 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) survey, flew by our planet at the distance of 0.000 86 AU (129,060 km; about 33% of the distance to the Moon). Within the next few hours, its brightness and elongation will drop dramatically and the object will disappear until the next (relatively) close approach in August 2028 (0.079 35 AU ~ 11.87 mil. km).

Thanks to photometric observations from around the world, pointing uncertainties have shrunk from about 523 arcseconds (3-sigma) to about 7 arcseconds. The new orbit calculations were accurate enough to point the radio telescopes of the Goldstone Observatory in Mojave Dessert at the asteroid. Early in the morning, between 02:20 and 04:20 GMT, astronomers were able to obtain valuable radar data which will dramatically improve the object’s orbit and provide additional information on its size and shape.

Lance Benner of NASA/JPL reported strong radar echoes from 2010 AL30 at Goldstone. The bandwidth was consistent with the asteroid’s expected size (10-20m). Bill Ryan and Richard Miles determined the rotation period to be roughly 9 minutes.

2010 AL30 imaged by a SLOOH telescope on January 13 at 03:02 GMT

2010 AL30 imaged by a SLOOH telescope on January 13 at 03:02 GMT - Credit: Tavi Greiner / SLOOH

The image above displays 2010 AL30 taken by the SLOOH robotic observatory on the Canary Islands. The SLOOH space camera takes gray-scale image. To make a color image, the camera takes exposures with different filters. The individual filtered images are later combined into a single color image (just as the red, green and blue channels are combined to form a color picture). Because the asteroid was relatively close, long exposure left trails as the object moved relatively to background stars. Since different color filters were used at different times, in this case red was used first, then green and finally blue, the individual color trails do not overlap in the final image and reveal the tricolored line.

Series of 30 15" exposures tracking on 2010 AL30

Series of 30 15" exposures tracking on 2010 AL30 between 07:18:16 and 07:27:29 GMT - Credit: Patrick Wiggins

Series of 73 1" exposures tracking 2010 AL30 at normal sidereal rate between 06:38:42 and 06:44:25 GMT; - Credit: Patrick Wiggins

The two captures above are compositions of series of exposures Patrick Wiggins took with a C-14 @ f/5.5 telescope and SBIG ST-10 binned 3×3 using clear filter. The Field of View (FOV) is about 18′ x 26′.  Note that in the second one the target is pretty faint (not surprising for 1″ exposures) so you have to look close to see it as it moves from left to right.

2010 AL30 imaged on January 12 from the distance of 0.003 7 AU at the Nazaret Observatory at the Canary Islands

2010 AL30 imaged on January 12 from the distance of 0.003 7 AU at the Nazaret Observatory at the Canary Islands - Credit: Gustavo, Muler, Schteinman - Observatorio Nazaret, J47

Click on the image above to see the apparent motion of 2010 AL30. Also, here is a composition of  200 images (~ 10MB).

Trajectory of Asteroid 2010 AL30 Past Earth on January 12/13, 2010

Trajectory of Asteroid 2010 AL30 Past Earth on January 12/13, 2010 - Credit: NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office (Don Yeomans, Paul Chodas, Steve Chesley & Jon Giorgini)

Because of the unusual orbital period of 2010 AL30, which is almost precisely 1 year (366 days) some have suggested it could have been a man-made rocket stage in orbit about the Sun. Nevertheless, trajectory extrapolations show that the object cannot be associated with any recent launch and it has not made any close approaches to the Earth since well before the Space Age began (the last relatively close approach occurred at 08:09 GMT on August 17, 1947 when 2010 AL30 passed the Earth at the distance of 0.038 97 AU ~ 5.8 mil. km). Therefore, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Small Body Database has officially classified 2010 AL30 as a Near-Earth Object (NEO) of type Apollo (Near-Earth asteroids which cross the Earth’s orbit, similar to that of 1862 Apollo, i.e. with semi-major axis, a > 1.0 AU and perihelion distance, q < 1.017 AU).

In the end,  the story of 2010 AL30 had a happy ending for inhabitants of the planet Earth; we’ve dodged yet another bullet. Even if 2010 AL30 had been on a collision course with our planet, it posed only a minimal risk as it would have certainly break up in Earth’s atmosphere. According to NASA/JPL one could expect a near-Earth asteroid of this size to pass within the moon’s distance about once every week on average.

For more 2010 AL30 images, fly-by animation and the apparent orbit sky chart see my earlier post.

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First close miss of 2010

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NEO or alien probe? One day we’ll spot one.


why will no one acknowlege the fact that the time is coming where god will reveal himself.I have pictures and a map that i was blessed to recieve that no one will look at why?are we that scared of the truth.


sylvia, please, by all means, share the map and pictures …


why are people so afraid to see the truth.God is revealing himself and no one will stop him he will come.i have prove i recieved a map and picyures of what is to come and none will look at it why?are we that scared of the truth?


the pictures have to be placed in the proper hands and the map has to be secured.there is a trust factor that has to be met.If any one can actually give me some advice i would appreciate it.


@sylvia, so let me get it straight … you have an irrefutable proof of God’s existence but you cannot show it to anyone?!

btw, what does that have to do with 2010 AL30?


this date may 2010 is on this map the whole world will be affected.

Manuel @ Pilar

We saw 2010 AL30 tonight around 7:15 PM. it was amazing seen it, a huge ball of fire flying very slow and seemed to be landing on earth. We got so exited and happy to be able to see it so good with a bare eye; and without any knowledge of its appearance tonight January 27/2010 around 7:15 PM. PCT in Southern California US.


Manuel, sorry to disappoint but what you saw was definitely NOT 2010 AL30.

First of all, 2010 AL30 was nowhere close to be visible by naked eye. It reached only 14th magnitude, i.e. it was about 1,500 times fainter than objects you can see with naked eye. Second of all, once it has passed the perigee its elongation decreased rapidly, i.e. its apparent position (as viewed form the earth) is now too close to the Sun, so that not even the biggest telescopes can see it.

I have checked heavens-above.com (a brilliant site) for southern california yesterday around 7:15pm. There was no ISS pass visible from california on Jan 27, but it could have been an iridium flare (I would need your precise location to check for those). Iridium flares can reach -8 magnitude, i.e. they are 25 times brighter than venus at its best (about 380 times brighter than Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky).


In may of 2002, I began to experience contact with a nonhuman intelligence claiming that the later discovery of two NEO objects by astronomers would signal the onset of a significant set of sudden terrestrial changes. In December of 2009, the entire Pacific Plate suddenly became extremely active, and the number and severity of earthquakes around that plate rose some 400% almost overnight, and with no previous activity of this sort. Shortly thereafter, these objects (AL / AG 30) were discovered. These correspond to the Navajo ‘mystery’ of the ‘Following Pairs’ (entities which always appear in a pair). Additionally, the crossing of Orion, Taurus, and Pisces by AL 30 is not insignificant (think ‘Robin Hood’).

While all of this sounds extremely imaginative, and would appear to have zero scientific relevance (a fact to which I agree), it does have relevance to living beings, who, unlike science, depend upon a vastly broader set of inputs and evaluative capacities (which, indeed, science itself also depends upon). Thus, while my response may -not- be scientific, this does not automatically dismiss it as non-meaningful.

@sylvia: I can supply trust credentials of the kind you seek. You may contact me by leaving a comment on my blog site with your email address (which I will moderate out so that no one else ever sees it) (dreamknots.blogspot.com) .

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