The space-borne infrared observatory AKARI observed asteroid Itokawa last month with its Infrared Camera. The data will be used to refine estimates of sizes of potentially hazardous asteroids in the future.
As AKARI observed Itokawa on 26 July it was in the constellation of Scorpius, and the asteroid and Earth were closest to each other, at a distance of about 42 million km (for comparison, Earth is 150 million km from the Sun).
This movie shows the motion of asteroid Itokawa over 12 minutes of observation by AKARI.
The stars to appear to twinkle in the video. The images in this movie are raw, the kind astronomers themselves use for research. Many scratches and anomalies from cosmic rays and other effects can clearly be seen.
Here’s your chance to hunt for asteroids as astronomers do!
There are two more asteroids detected faintly in this video.
Can you find them?