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Bright Asteroids of 2011 - Viewer's Guide

The newly discovered object, officially designated 2011 CQ1, is shown in this image from Tzec Maun Observatory in New Mexico.
The newly discovered object, officially designated 2011 CQ1, is shown in this image from Tzec Maun Observatory in New Mexico. (Image credit: G. Sostero & E. Guido/Remanzacco Observatory)

The following asteroids are expected to become brighter than magnitude 9 (on the reverse scale used by astronomers to measure brightness) and more than 90 degrees from the sun during 2011.

This timetable depicts the optimum viewing seasons for asteroids in the night sky in 2011. Asteroid appearances are listed in terms of magnitude, with the larger numbers indicating dimmer objects. Source: RASC Observer's Handbook 2011 (Image credit: Geoff Gaherty/Starry Night)

Telescopes or binoculars are typically vital to spotting even the largest, brightest asteroids in deep space.

This chart above details the major asteroid targets, as well as their expected brightness and the best moths in which to look for them. Consult a skywatching almanac for their anticipated locations in the night sky at specific dates.

This article was provided to SPACE.com by Starry Night Education, the leader in space science curriculum solutions.

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Geoff Gaherty
Geoff Gaherty

Geoff Gaherty was Space.com's Night Sky columnist and in partnership with Starry Night software and a dedicated amateur astronomer who sought to share the wonders of the night sky with the world. Based in Canada, Geoff studied mathematics and physics at McGill University and earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Toronto, all while pursuing a passion for the night sky and serving as an astronomy communicator. He credited a partial solar eclipse observed in 1946 (at age 5) and his 1957 sighting of the Comet Arend-Roland as a teenager for sparking his interest in amateur astronomy. In 2008, Geoff won the Chant Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, an award given to a Canadian amateur astronomer in recognition of their lifetime achievements. Sadly, Geoff passed away July 7, 2016 due to complications from a kidney transplant, but his legacy continues at Starry Night.