Have you heard of our upcoming close encounter with”Spooky,” the asteroid?
Yes, that’s what scientists have named the roughly 1,300-foot-wide (400 meters) asteroid 2015 TB145 that will zoom past 300,000 miles (roughly 1.3 times the average distance between Earth and the moon) from Earth on Halloween, October the 31st.
Scientists are not sure whether this is an asteroid or a coment. Lance Benner of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said, “The asteroid’s orbit is very oblong with a high inclination to below the plane of the solar system.” That strangeness, along with the high encounter velocity, raises questions about the asteroid actually being a comet.
The 2015 TB145 poses no threat during this flyby. However, this pass will be our closest encounter with a space rock of that size until the 2,600-foot-wide 1999 AN10 comes within 1 Earth-moon distance, NASA officials said.
Astronomers plan to beam radio waves at Spooky from NASA’s Deep Space Network facility in Goldstone, California, then capture the reflected signals with the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory.
Spooky will not be observable with the naked eye, but you can check it out on live telescope views provided by the Slooh Community Observatory and the Virtual Telescope Project.