In the early morning hours of August 16/17, 2002, I participated in an experiment to measure the distance to asteroid 2002 NY40, which was zipping past the Earth at a relatively small distance. I took pictures of the asteroid from the RIT Observatory, in Rochester, NY. At the very same time, astronomers at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, were also observing 2002 NY40. You can read a full description of our measurements, but the essentials are contained in the pair of images below (click on the picture).
The asteroid (which you can recognize by its slight trail) appears to move by about 40 arcseconds from one image to the other. That's a very small shift -- only about 0.011 degrees. Can you estimate the distance to asteroid 2002 NY40, based on this information?
Copyright © Michael Richmond. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.