This peanut-shaped asteroid flew past Earth last weekend

This peanut-shaped asteroid flew past Earth last weekend

A peanut-shaped asteroid named 1999 JD6 flew past Earth at a distance of about 7.2 million km last weekend, according to NASA. Scientists at the US space agency were able to capture images of the contact binary — an asteroid with two lobes that are stuck together — that flew at a distance of about […]

A peanut-shaped asteroid named 1999 JD6 flew past Earth at a distance of about 7.2 million km last weekend, according to NASA.

Scientists at the US space agency were able to capture images of the contact binary — an asteroid with two lobes that are stuck together — that flew at a distance of about times the distance from Earth to the moon. NASA says that the asteroid will zoom past Earth again in 2054.

NASA astronomers paired the space agency’s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California with the National Science Foundation Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to capture the images of the asteroid.

The images show the asteroid is highly elongated, with a length of approximately two kms on its long axis.

NASA’s asteroid-tracking mission places a high priority on tracking asteroids and protecting our home planet from them.

According to NASA’s Lance Benner, imaging of asteroids reveal that about 15 per cent of near-Earth asteroids larger than 600 feet, including 1999 JD6, have a peanut-shaped lobed structure.

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