On June 30, people around the world celebrate Asteroid Day. That makes these warm summer nights the perfect time to seek out some of the most elusive objects in our solar system. All month long, we’re dedicating our weekly observing challenges to asteroids. Our new crop of observing targets even includes a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid that you can help astronomers keep an eye on.
Fortunately, our Asteroid Predictions tool makes it easy for amateur astronomers to observe asteroids. You can get started by learning about asteroid occultations, and then check out our Planetary Defense page to learn more about how citizen scientists can contribute to real research.
Asteroid 2003 WD158
- Planetary Defense Target: Visible June 11-30, 2021
- Classification: Apollo Class Near-Earth Asteroid/ Potentially Hazardous Asteroid
- Discovery: November 30, 2003 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project
2003 WD158 is an Apollo-Class Asteroid, which means its orbit crosses Earth’s. This roughly half-mile-long asteroid will approach relatively close to us this month, passing just five million miles from Earth. That’s close enough to classify the space rock as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid and make it a prime target for Planetary Defense monitoring campaigns. 2003 WD158 won’t get this close again until 2038, so be sure to catch a glimpse now!
Asteroid 2005 XS92
- Upcoming Asteroid Occultation: June 14, 2021 in Europe
- Classification: Trojan Asteroid
- Discovery: December 10, 2005 by Spacewatch
Asteroid 2005 XS92 was discovered by Spacewatch, a group at the University of Arizona dedicated to finding and studying asteroids. Like other Trojan asteroids, 2005 XS92 follows Jupiter as it orbits the Sun. It also likely holds clues to the solar system’s formation. 2005 XS92 measures about 9 miles (14 kilometers) across.
Asteroid 2426 Simonov
- Upcoming Asteroid Occultation: June 14, 2021 in North America
- Classification: Main-Belt Asteroid
- Discovery: May 26, 1976 by astronomer Nikolai Stepanowitsch Tschernych
This city-sized asteroid orbits in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. 2426 Simonov is named for the Soviet poet and playwright Konstantin Simonov, author of one of the most famous Russian poems of his day, “Wait For Me.”
We encourage you to share your observations and join the conversation through our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages using the hashtag #UnistellarChallenge!
If you’d like to send us your observations by email, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clear skies! 🔭