Pair of observatories confirm rare double asteroid

15 July, 2018, 20:16 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Asteroid That Came Near Earth Was Really Two Objects Orbiting Each Other

One of the surprising things about 2017 YE5 is that the two space rocks that make up this binary asteroid (as it's called) are the same size, each measuring about 3,000 feet (900 meters) across.

NASA sees 2017 YE5 is an opportunity to gain a better understanding of binary asteroids and their formation as well as their internal composition. By June 26, both Goldstone and Arecibo had independently confirmed the asteroid's binary nature.

The near-Earth asteroid, 2017 YE5, was first spotted with observations provided by the Morocco Oukaimeden Sky Survey on December 21, 2017, but no details about the asteroid " s physical properties were known until the end of June this year. The fact that the last observation used the time of the closest approach of the asteroid to Earth when he flew a distance of about 6 million kilometers.

After checking the results of observations, NASA announced that an asteroid 2017 YE5 is two objects, writes the online edition of the with reference for a New time.

A team of scientists from the Palomar Observatory in the United States July 8, 2018 fixed in the Solar system from two previously unidentified asteroid.

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Scientists at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico teamed up with researchers at the Green Bank Observatory (GBO) in West Virginia to confirm that 2017 YE5 consists of two separated objects. Together, they would study the asteroid using a bi-static radar configuration, in which radar signals are bounced off the asteroid by Arecibo and received by GBO.

2017 YE5 is only the fourth equal mass binary near-Earth asteroid ever detected, consisting of two objects almost identical in size, orbiting each other. The pair revolve around each other once every 20 to 24 hours. The new observations revealed their true size, and scientists believe they're likely made of a dark material that doesn't reflect as much sunlight as a standard asteroid, leading to the original incorrect estimate.

Asteroid 2017 YE5 is remarkable (some would say downright weird) for several reasons. Different levels of reflectivity suggests the two rocks feature different densities and compositions. According to NASA, of the family of near-Earth asteroids larger than 650 ft (200 m) in diameter, approximately 15 percent consist of binary asteroids like Didymos, where one smaller asteroid circles around a larger one.

The same situation goes for a system like Didymos, where a very large asteroid has a much smaller one orbiting it. In addition, NASA values the work of numerous highly skilled amateur astronomers, whose accurate observational data helps improve asteroid orbits after discovery.



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