The huge 5-kilometer near-Earth asteroid Phaethon is now moving toward Earth.
Since its opening in 1983, there has been only one close rapport of Phaethon with the Earth, and it happened ten years ago on December 10, 2007. Then the asteroid flew from the Earth at a distance of 18.1 million km.
This year he will beat his record and on December 17 at 02:00 Moscow time will approach our planet for a distance of 10.3 million km.
Observations of Phaeton are planned on the 70-meter radio telescope of the Longstone Space Telescope in California, the Hubble Space Telescope, the IRTF 3-meter infrared telescope at the top of the Mauna Kea volcano, and many others.
Phaeton is a very interesting object. Perhaps it is a degenerate or inactive comet that has exhausted its entire supply of volatile compounds, or they have been buried beneath a thick layer of dust.
This asteroid is considered the progenitor of the annual powerful meteor shower of Geminidae – this is one of the most stable meteor showers at the moment. Also Phaethon is considered as a possible goal of the mission “DESTINY” of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.