Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Is observing NEOs possible?

  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 jupi10


    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 13
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2008

Posted 17 May 2019 - 06:37 PM

Hi guys.


I am thinking of interesting future observing targets.


Observing a near Earth asteroid (NEO), one with a chance of one day hitting the Earth would be a very interesting experience.

Is this possible? Has it been done? Any resources?


Many thanks for any info as I am just getting back into the hobby.



#2 *skyguy*



  • *****
  • Posts: 3543
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2008
  • Loc: Western New York

Posted 17 May 2019 - 07:50 PM

Check the SpaceWeather.com site for a list of upcoming close flybys of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs). Some can be bright enough to be seen with a good size telescope. However, it's much easier to capture one with a camera.


Also, stop by the NEO Page on the Minor Planet Center website:




You'll find a lot of interesting information on NEOs.


Good Luck hunting ....

  • jupi10 likes this

#3 John Rogers

John Rogers

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 312
  • Joined: 08 Feb 2008

Posted 17 May 2019 - 09:34 PM

Observing NEAs can be fun.  On any given night there are dozens of NEAs that are bright enough to observe with a CCD equipped telescope.  In addition to the MPC site, if you are looking to observe newly-discovered NEAs, then here are some resources you might find useful::


JPL's Sentry Site:

You can use the JPL page to screen objects that have non-zero probabilities of impact in the future.  Getting astrometric observations of these objects can provide one with a personal sense of accomplishment, when your observations are used in the solution that removes an object from this list.


If you are looking for opportunities to observe currently visible NEAs, then Bill Gray's Project Pluto page can help you make selections.

Bill Gray's Project Pluto:


Near-Earth Objects - Dynamic Site:

There is a lot of information here on the NEO impact risk, in addition to many statistics.

  • jupi10 likes this

#4 Dave Mitsky

Dave Mitsky


  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 80452
  • Joined: 08 Apr 2002
  • Loc: PA, USA, Planet Earth

Posted 18 May 2019 - 02:32 PM

I've seen two NEOs through telescopes.  One of them I hand-tracked at very high power with a 17" classical Cassegrain.


Dave Mitsky

  • John Rogers and jupi10 like this

#5 Dan Crowson

Dan Crowson


  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 2140
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Dardenne Prairie, MO

Posted 22 May 2019 - 06:44 PM

Asteroid 66391 1994 KW4 is passing by earth and TSX is saying it will be close to mag 12 (still around 14 June 6th). It might be a good target. In the US, it would be a target to catch just after dark starting around May 26th.


  • jupi10 likes this

#6 Anduin


    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 167
  • Joined: 10 Jul 2016

Posted 02 June 2019 - 01:19 PM

I just captured 1999KW4 with a 71mm refractor, and from the middle of a big city. It is fun and I am planning on new targets, hopefully with a bigger scope.


Plate solving and high gain make it much easier.



  • John Rogers, *skyguy* and Astroman007 like this

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Recent Topics

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics