Students make video of asteroid encounter

Three undergraduate students in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences recently used the UI’s Iowa Robotic Telescope to make a video of asteroid 2005 YU55 during the asteroid’s Nov. 8 pass to within some 200,000 miles of Earth.

Robert Mutel, professor of physics and astronomy, noted that the students—Drew Coffin, Ryan Hood, and Joseph Schmitt—combined 10, 10-second-exposure photographs of the asteroid to make their video of the rare event. The student video can be viewed below:

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The Iowa Robotic Telescope is located at the Winer Observatory in Sonoita, Ariz., and consists of a 14.5-inch diameter classical Cassegrain reflector, a nine-megapixel CCD camera, and a seven-position filter wheel. Since its initiation in 1991, about 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students have used the telescope facility.