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2012 Skywatching Guide: Brightest Asteroids of the Year

Asteroid 2005 YU55 Students
This image of asteroid 2005 YU55 was captured on the night of Nov. 8, 2011, by the 25-inch telescope at the Clay Center Observatory in Brookline, Mass. The asteroid is the bright white dot near left-center; the white streaks are stars, which appear to move because the telescope is tracking the fast-moving 2005 YU55. (Image credit: Clay Center Observatory at Dexter and Southfield Schools)

Skywatchers are in for a treat this year if they look up at some of the brightest asteroids in view. Here's a skywatching guide to help you plan your targets.

The following asteroids are expected to become brighter than magnitude 9 and more than 90 degrees from the sun during 2012.

The following asteroids are expected to become brighter than magnitude 9 and more than 90 degrees from the sun during 2012. (Image credit: Geoff Gaherty)

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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.