Elon Musk’s Tesla has been spotted 500,000 miles away
A professional photographer captured the footage from 500,000 miles away in San Fransisco.
Rogelio Bernal Andreo is a Spanish-American astrophotographer best known for his images of deep sky objects.
He used Nasa’s online ephemeris calculator to work out where the rocket was in space.
Writing on his website, Mr Andreo said: “Once footage of the car and Starman started to arrive and people wondered if it could be observed from Earth, there was just one thing in my mind: to find the answer to that question and if yes, to try to take a picture – better yet, a video – of it.
“Nothing. Not just a doubtful thought ‘maybe it’s there but I didn’t capture’, no. There was absolutely nothing there.”
The photographer failed when he initially tried to picture the Tesla at 2am PDT (10am GM) on February 9.
However, he captured the rocket the next evening when he realised the error in his coordinate calculations.
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“Since the Roadster is still fairly close to us, parallax is significant, meaning, different locations on Earth will see Starman at slightly different coordinates.
“I quickly recalculate, get the new coordinates, go to my images, and thanks to the wide field captured by my telescopes… boom!
“There it was! Impossible to miss! It had been right there all along; I just never noticed!”
Telescopes have been tracking the progress of the Falcon Heavy rocket since it was blasted into space.
The rocket is on its way to Mars and then the asteroid belt
They ran 240 simulations to gain a better understanding of how the Tesla’s orbit would evolve over the next 3.5 million years.
The chances of it hitting Earth is around 6 per cent in the next million years.
They also believe there is a 2.5 per cent of it hitting Venus in that same timeframe.
The results suggest a slim chance the vehicle will burn up in the sun, but almost no chance it will strike Mars.
Physicists at the University of Toronto have been trying to establish exactly what will happen to the astronomical object, now that it has made its way out into the solar system.
A professional photographer captured the footage from 500,000 miles away in San Fransisco
If the Tesla does return to Earth it is likely to vaporise in the atmosphere.
In a paper published on the pre-print repository Arxiv.org, the paper’s authors said: “We perform simulations to determine the fate of the object over the next several million years, under the relevant perturbations acting on the orbit.
“The orbital evolution is initially dominated by close encounters with the Earth.
“The repeated encounters lead to a random walk that eventually causes close encounters with other terrestrial planets and the sun.
“We estimate the dynamical lifetime of the Tesla to be a few tens of millions of years.”
The billionaires Tesla Roadster can now be found through the online Horizons tool from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Lab.