eso9301 — Photo Release
"Toutatis" Observed with the ESO New Technology Telescope
29 January 1993: This photo is a composite of five exposures of Minor Planet no.~4179, also known as Toutatis, obtained with the 3.5-m ESO New Technology Telescope on December 21, 1992, by ESO-astronomer Jesper Storm. At this time, Toutatis was about 13 million km from the Earth, i.e. 33 times more distant than the Moon. On December 8, this Minor Planet passed within 3.6 million km from the Earth, but at that time it was not possible to observe it with ground-based optical telescopes, because it was situated between the Earth and the Sun. However, very good radar images were obtained which showed thecratered surface of the object.