KUALA LUMPUR, 23 Jan: Asteroid 2004 BL86, which measures about 500 metres in diameter (0.5km) and passes near Earth every 200 years, will appear again on Jan 27 at 12.20am.
The National Space Agency (Angkasa), in a statement today, said the asteroid will be closest to Earth next Tuesday at a distance of about 1.2 million kilometres or about three times the distance from Earth to the moon.
“Asteroid 2004 BL86 is expected to reach a visual magnitude of nine and orbit around the Sun at a speed of 56,420km per hour on Jan 26 and 27.
“At this position, it seems to be moving in front of the stars and can only be seen through a telescope or high-powered binoculars,” the statement said.
Asteroid 2004 BL86 was discovered via telescope at the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) in White Sands, New Mexico on Jan 30, 2004.
“Researchers worldwide predict that after the appearance of Asteroid 2004 BL86 this year, no other known asteroid will be close to Earth until 2027.
“The public need not worry as it will not cause any harm to Earth,” it said.
To observe, people can refer to the Cancer constellation and observation locations must be far away from light pollution in a large area with favourable weather conditions.
“The Langkawi National Observatory (ONL) and Angkasa will carry out an observation on Asteroid 2004 BL86 on Jan 27.
Angkasa encouraged anyone with a telescope to share photos on Angkasa’s social media, Facebook: Agensi Angkasa Negara and Twitter: angkasamalaysia.
Images upload can be tagged with #ASTEROID2004BL86Malaysia.