by Staff Writers
Moscow, Russia (RIA Novosti) Jan 13, 2010
An unusual space body with parameters similar to a man-made object will approach Earth on Wednesday at a distance about three times less than the moon's orbit.
The object, named 2010 AL30, will fly by Earth at a distance of at least 128,000 km (about 80,000 miles) at 12:48 GMT. As it is some 10-15 meters long, there is no chance it will directly impact the planet.
According to Italian scientists Ernesto Guido and Giovanni Sostero of the Remanzacco Observatory, it has an orbital period of almost exactly one year and might be a man-made object such as a spent rocket booster.
Alan Harris, senior researcher at the U.S. Space Science Institute said, however, the object had a "perfectly ordinary Earth-crossing orbit."
"Unlikely to be artificial, its orbit doesn't resemble any useful spacecraft trajectory, and its encounter velocity with Earth is not unusually low," he said.
Astronomers will be able to observe 2010 AL30 as a 14th magnitude star in the constellations of Orion, Taurus, and Pisces.
Source: RIA Novosti
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