Observing

See bright near-Earth asteroid 2002 AJ129 dash through Virgo and Leo, 5–7 February

3 February 2018 Ade Ashford

Possibly a kilometre or more in size, Apollo asteroid 2002 AJ129 passes just 10.9 lunar distances from Earth at 21:30 UT (9:30pm GMT) on 4 February — its closest approach for 114 years. For a few nights around this date the magnitude +12.6 body is well placed for observers as it gallops through the constellations of Virgo and Leo into Cancer at a rate of up to 40 degrees/day. We show you where and when to look for it.

Picture This

Celebrating Hubble: The cosmic sombrero

7 June 2015 Astronomy Now

Regarded as one of the most majestic of all of the galaxies in the Universe is the Sombrero, 28 million light years away in the constellation Virgo. This spiral galaxy’s notable features are its thick, torus-like disc with a dark, duty rim and the intense, bulbous, white glow that emanates from its core.