Discussion in 'science, nature and environment' started by 2hats, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. 2hats


    The first near Earth asteroid observation of the year has turned up a little surprise.

    Radar observations made from Arecibo indicate asteroid 2016 AZ8 turns out to have its own moon (the main asteroid is about 400m across and the moon is orbiting about 400m from it).

    Somewhat relatedly, asteroid 2017 YE5, observed in parallel (bistatic setup) by Arecibo and Green Bank last year turns out to be a binary asteroid system - actually two objects each about 900m in size orbiting their common barycentre with a period of about 20-24 hours.
    Actually ‘equal mass’ binary asteroid systems are not that uncommon. It is estimated that around 15% of near Earth asteroids of >200m size are binaries (there are three others known).
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
    editor, teqniq, spitfire and 2 others like this.
  2. ferrelhadley

    ferrelhadley These violent delights have violent ends.

    About the same size as Bennu that OSIRUS REx is currently in orbit around that is an orbit of about 0.06m/s or about 200 meters an hour.
    Badgers and 2hats like this.
  3. ferrelhadley

    ferrelhadley These violent delights have violent ends.

    Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission

    The NASA mission that goes up next year to test techniques to try to ensure we do not go the way of the dinosaurs. Sadly it does not appear to require teams deep ocean drillers hastily trained as astronauts.
    farmerbarleymow and NoXion like this.
  4. 2hats


    Tuesday just (just after midnight 8 Jan) saw asteroid 2019 AS5 make a close fly-by of Earth at only 8600km. It was discovered 9 hours after closest approach. Fortunately it is only 1-2 metres across so if it had impacted would most likely have merely broken up with a large fireball/explosion Chelyabinsk style; so perhaps meteorites, minor structural damage/injuries. Such a close pass was within the orbit of MEO satellites such as all GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo).
    3D interactive visualisation of the encounter (clearly illustrates the Earth’s gravitational influence on the asteroid) here.
    S☼I, farmerbarleymow and clicker like this.
  5. 2hats


    It would appear that there has been a collision in the asteroid belt, perhaps during November 2018. Just outside the orbit of Mars, asteroid 6478 Gault is now sporting a 400000km long tail (greater than the Earth-Moon distance). Most likely a debris trail that is the result of a collision with another asteroid.
    6478 Gault is a member of the Phocaea family of asteroids, part of the inner asteroid belt, that are thought to have formed as a result of inter-asteroid collisions over 2 billion years ago.
    S☼I, NoXion, editor and 2 others like this.
  6. ferrelhadley

    ferrelhadley These violent delights have violent ends.

    Lucy mission to the Trojans now has a contract for a launch provider.
    ULA wins contract to launch NASA’s Lucy mission to visit unexplored asteroids – Spaceflight Now
    Its going to visit 6 Trojans on its voyages and aims to explore theories around the formation of the solar system, the current favorite is the NICE2 model that had the gas giants migrating towards the inner solar system creating a great deal of instability in the process in the early solar system. This may be related to the Late Heavy Bombardment (best name for anything science) when Earth got plastered by impacts.

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