November 7, 2011 — The largest asteroid ever known to pass close to Earth will come within 200,000 miles of our planet on the evening of Tuesday, November 8th. As it glides harmlessly between Earth and the Moon, the quarter-mile-wide space rock will be studied intensively by astronomers around the world.
A team from the Clay Center Observatory in Brookline, Massachusetts, will use the facility’s 25-inch telescope to track and image the asteroid. The team anticipates locking onto the asteroid well before 6:00 p.m. EST and tracking it until approximately 3:00 a.m. EST the following morning.
Broadcast representatives are invited to witness this observing session firsthand. Observatory activities will include:
• Access to a real-time, high-quality video feed directly from the telescope. A pool feed and distribution amplifier will be available for connection to the telescope’s output. Formats available are NTSC, SD-SDi, Composite, Component, DVI, and VGA. The telescope’s black-and-white camera is sufficient to clearly show the asteroid as a distinct pinpoint of light among background stars. The telescope will track the asteroid, which will remain centered in the field of view as stars appear to slowly glide by in the background.
• Before and during the event, Clay Center astronomers will be available for interviews and for interpretation of the video imagery as well as the significance of the event.
• Beginning at 12:00 p.m. EST the observatory will be available for shooting B-roll segments for staff interviews.
• The observatory will also be open to the public from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., so interested members of the general public will be present.
For more information, please contact:
Ronald Dantowitz, Director, Clay Center Observatory (firstname.lastname@example.org; 617-959-9945)