A 32-foot asteroid flew between the Earth and the Moon this morning.  It was spotted in advance.  It did not hit the Earth, but passed about 28,000 miles up.  If it had hit the Earth, it would not have done damage.  One of this size tends to hit the Earth's atmosphere every 2 years, on average.  And, as NASA notes, we get a flyby of this size in the 'tween-Earth-Moon space about once every day.

This particular one passed much closer to Earth than the Moon's distance, and in fact almost to the spacing of our Earth-launched geosynchronos satellites.  While the Moon is a hefty 236,000 miles away, geosync is only 26,000 miles away.

The NASA release on this non-even goes into more details on just how commonplace it is.  However, that did not stop the blogosphere from covering it in depth.  What does make it notable is that it was spotted in advance.  If you know something is coming, and you have some skill at such things, you can film it.

Which is what an amateur did.

Patrick Wiggins at utahastro.info provided the below image, and details, to UniverseToday (and they have more details there, it's their scoop).  Bearing in mind Patrick is a titled amateur (NASA Solar System Ambassador, which I figure must be like Retief), but an amateur nevertheless. 

So there you have the sad saga of asteroid 2010 TD54  A routine object, found by NASA, ignored by millions, photographed by an amateur, and now it's gone.  When you think about it, 2010 TD54 is sort of the blog post of asteroiddom.  Maybe I should make it my mascot.


Launching Project Calliope, sponsored by Science 2.0, in 2011
News every Tuesday at The Satellite Diaries, every Friday at the Daytime Astronomer